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Europe’s First Underwater Art Gallery Is Very, Very Cool

Europe’s First Underwater Art Gallery Is Very, Very Cool

Some galleries have a reputation of being stuffy  – huge indoor expanses loaded with ancient artwork and a few quietly shuffling patrons. But that stereotype is just as antiquated as the art these museums hold.

Newsflash: museums are fun now. And thanks to a British artist, you can now ‘um’ and ‘ahh’ on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. (Not literally though, lest you push you


In March of this year, British artist Jason deCaires Taylor installed the first phase of sculptures at Museo Atlantico, the first underwater contemporary art museum in Europe. You may remember that two-years-ago, Taylor, accomplished the same feat for North America at Cancun in Mexico.


This new dive site is situated in clear blue waters off the coast of Lanzarote, in the Spanish-owned Canary Islands near West Africa, and lets visitors explore permanent installations 14 metres below the surface. Accessible to snorkelers and divers, the museum depicts art with a social message.


Take the Raft of Lampedusa, a depiction of the ongoing humanitarian crisis affecting the world at large. The work is a reference to French Romantic painter Théodore Géricault and his iconic piece The Raft of the Medusa. Taylor’s artwork draws parallels between the abandonment suffered by shipwrecked sailors and the current refugee crisis.


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A number of the pieces also touch on issues surrounding the environment and conservation, with sculptures exploring the need for an ecologically responsible interaction between humans and  the ocean. Taylor has built artificial reefs on each of the sculptures which marine microorganisms can attach to, promoting the protection and growth of coral reefs.


When completed, the Museo Atlántico will include ten separate large-scale installations and more than 300 individual sculptures. You can find out more about the exhibition and book your dive here.

(All photos courtesy of Jason deClaires Taylor)

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