8/26/18: This stunning large-scale sculpture and marine sanctuary is called The Coralarium, and it’s the world’s first semi-submerged art gallery. The installation makes up part of a large man-made coral lagoon known as the Shaviyani Atoll in the Maldives, and can only be accessed from the Fairmont Maldives.
The site consists of an architectural cube-like structure positioned partially in and partially out of the water. Sculptures made from casts of real people can be found atop the structure, but where it gets really interesting is underneath, where the sculptures also incorporate local varieties of coral.
The artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, is also a well-known environmental activist, and he wanted to help preserve the fragile beauty of the location.
“The Coralarium is a place of preservation, conservation and education. Together with the resort, we hope to raise awareness for the protection of Maldivian coral reefs. I want to see a better future for the ocean, for people to see it as a delicate place, worthy of our protection.”
“Over the years I have realized that the really humbling thing about what we do is that once we submerge the sculptures they’re not ours anymore. As soon as we sink them, they belong to the sea and nature takes over.”
To make sure the work is as good for marine life as it is for the tourists, the artist crafted the cube from pH-neutral marine-grade stainless-steel. The sculptures are composed of marine-grade cement, which is meant to be covered with coral and algae over time.
Images property of Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi/Jason deCaires Taylor.