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December 6, 2010

Diver’s Delight: Cancun’s Underwater Museum Opens

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Photo credit: Jason deCaires TaylorThe November 26 opening of The Cancun Underwater Museum adds a unique eco-art experience to the diving and snorkeling in Cancun. The underwater installation of renowned artist Jason deCaires Taylor’s magnificent exhibition, “The Silent Evolution,” made of 400 submerged life-size sculptures, completes the world’s largest underwater museum.

Located in The National Park of Isla Mujeres Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc, which attracts well over half a million tourists a year, the museum’s main gallery comprises Jason deCaires Taylor’s sculptures, which are based on real people and anchored in depths of over ten meters.

The collection was created and installed over the course of 18 months, with 120 tons of cement, 400 kilograms of silicone, 120 sub-aquatic work hours and more. Although best experienced underwater, the sculptures have been arranged so that when viewed from above, they create the shape of a human eye.

Lovers of marine life will appreciate the eco-friendly aspect of the project. The sculptures were placed near the natural reefs and close to marine life habitats in order to create a natural ecosystem that helps maintain corals and reefs in the best conditions. And indeed, the sculptures received an exceptionally warm welcome: Days after most of the pieces were installed, hundreds of Gray Angel Fish, rarely spotted in the Manchones area, were to be seen swimming in and around the exhibition.

In collaboration with the National Marine Park and Artificial Reefs, a US-based company, the sculptures are specifically designed to attract coral and positioned to encourage the growth of different coral species. Visitors can look forward to enjoying not only the original, beautiful sculptures but also the marine life they will host.


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