Museo Atlantico, Lanzarote
I’m not normally one for modern art. Many years ago I was involved with it via a Sponsorship deal I had with an old beer client of mine. I didn’t get why an unmade bed covered in dried bodily fluids is art, or why a person flicking a switch on and off in a plain white room is classified as arty…arsey more like!
On a recent family holiday to Lanzarote I convinced my other half that in the interests of work I should do just the one dive to check out the new art instillation by Jason deCaires Talyor. Luckily for me our hotel was directly opposite the bay where the museum lies, so my partner and our 2 year old daughter could watch our dive boat approaching and plopping in the water from the comfort of our balcony.
Jason deCaires Taylor is famous for his art installation in the River Thames called ‘The Rising Tide’, where 4 horses of the apocalypse could only be fully seen when the tide was at its lowest.
He then made the world’s first underwater museum in Cancun, Mexico called ‘The Silent Evolution’ which is made of nearly 500 statues. This has helped draw many divers from the fragile reefs and has acted as a new eco system to the local marine life. It is also now a major draw for divers and art lovers around the world.
I chose to book my dive in Lanzarote with Rubicon Diving and was warmly welcomed by Andy and his colleagues. The dive centre is well known amongst techies but Lit also has a range of decent dive sites for recreational divers. May be I can return here when not on a family holiday to explore them! Andy briefed me on our dive and it wasn’t long before we were heading out of Rubicon Marina on their comfy Rib powered by two huge outboard engines.
Descending in to the blue water, viz was around 10m and had a slight haze about it. When reach the bottom around 15m deep you first spot ‘The Raft of Lampedusa’ which carries 13 refugees towards an unknown future. The characters and detail make them very life like and the haze makes it very atmospheric. On the bow of this inflatable rib sits an African man which apparently represents the close proximity to nearby Africa. The poses of the 13 passengers really does give you a sense of what they must ensure.
We then followed the sandy bottom for the next installation, a group of small wooden boats each being powered by children with paddles attached their hands.
Then you have some of the local fauna such as giant cactus. Then some of the cactus morph in to people, the most impressive of which is a man with the spiny thorns coming out of his limbs, torso and head.
A crowd of people march in the same direction. Each person is very different; some are wearing hoodies, while others have dreads.
Finally there are a couple of people taking photos with their SLR’s.
There are currently 60 or so of the planned 400ish pieces laid on the bottom to date and the underwater museum is due for completion by February 2017. The statues are built to last 300 years and will cost around 700,000 Euros. There is little marine life at present, although we did spot a huge Atlantic Stingray, but inevitably over the next few years the local underwater life will find shelter here and make it their home.
I’m sure if the artist reads this piece he will probably be very disappointed in how I have described these fantastic pieces of art and haven’t done it true justice, especially given the time and effort they must have made to produce. However, the one thing I was always told from my art sponsorship days was that if something stirs your feelings and emotions then it has done its job, and this certainly does that!
If you are interested in more information then visit the website https://www.underwatersculpture.com/
I’m sure this instillation will put Lanzarote on the world diving map and if I could I would love to convince Jason deCaires Taylor to create something similar off the coast of Brighton. PLEASE!!!