EUROPE'S first-ever underwater museum has opened off the coast of Lanzarote, featuring a British artist's works.
Sculptures occupying 15% of a total diving area of 2,500 square metres in the Las Coloradas bay are made with materials that will not pollute the water – and their presence will in fact help sea-life to regenerate and expand.
They act as an artificial reef and, once they become covered in seaweed as part of the natural process affecting submerged objects, will provide shelter, oxygen and food for fish and other marine fauna.
Jason deCaires Taylor, 41, who is half-Guyanese on his mother's side, is originally from Dover in Kent, UK and holds a degree in Sculpture and Ceramics from Camberwell College of Arts in London, as well as being a qualified scuba-diving instructor.
He is behind the world's first-ever underwater museum, in the Molinère Bay, Grenada, West Indies, which was one of the top 25 Wonders of the World voted by National Geographic.
Jason since created largest seabed sculpture museum on the planet, the Museo Subacuático de Arte (Subaquatic Art Museum, or MUSA) off the coast of México's Yucatán peninsula in the south-east of the country on the way to the Isla de las Mujeres, a popular scuba-diving spot.
His museum off the shores of Lanzarote is the first in Europe and the third in the world, although one-off sculptures on seabeds elsewhere on the planet have been set up including the Ocean Atlas in the Bahamas, the world's largest at five metres in height and 60 tonnes in weight, and the Un-Still Life II in Palini, on the Greek island of Crete.
“The Canary Islands, and in particular Lanzarote, have a lot of history with art and nature. It's the perfect place for my works and is a really, really beautiful island,” says Jason.
“I want to represent a number of aspects of the island - and its nature, flora and fauna, have a great deal of influence on my works and their characteristics.”