Photo: Museum of Underwater Art

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Is Getting an Underwater Art Museum

Australia News Museums Diving Art + Architecture
by Aryana Azari Jul 19, 2019

If you’ve been looking for a way to combine your love of open water with art, then look no further. Underwater museums have been popping up all over these days, with some of the most popular ones in places like Mexico and the Bahamas. Now, Australia is joining in on the fun by opening up an underwater museum of its own in its Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The purpose of the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) is to increase environmental awareness, as well as to take the pressure off natural reefs and allowing them time to repair by diverting attention to the installation sites instead. The proposed sites are Palm Island, Magnetic Island, John Brewer Reef, and the Strand near Townsville, known as Australia’s center for marine science.

As reported by The Guardian, the first artwork will open up on the Strand in December of this year and be exposed to the non-diving public at low tide and underwater at high tide. Named “Ocean Siren,” it’ll be a solar-powered sculpture of an indigenous girl that, using data from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, changes color to alert people of critical temperature rises. Soon to follow “Ocean Siren” will be the Coral Greenhouse, which will be installed just before coral spawning to provide coral larvae with a new surface to attach to.

The idea for the museum was put forth by Jason deCaires Taylor, who created the world’s first underwater sculpture park in Grenada, and aims to steer public conversation to our relationship with the ocean.

“Our oceans are going through rapid change, and there are huge threats, from rising sea temperatures to acidification, and a large amount of pollution entering the system,” said deCaires Taylor. “Part of creating an underwater museum is about changing our value systems — thinking about the sea floor as something sacred, something that we should be protecting and not taking for granted.”

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