Have you ever found yourself walking through countless rooms and corridors of a museum, looked at beautiful sculptures and thought – well this is beautiful, but I wish it was underwater? If you have, than I have good news for you. A stunning underwater museum just opened off the coast of the Spanish island, Lanzarote. Museo Atlantico is the first and, so far, only underwater museum in Europe.
The museum opened on the first of March 2016 and so far comprises of six different installations located 12 to 15 meters underneath the surface of the water. The museum is fully funded by the local government and features a collection of sculptures by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
One installation – “The Rubicon” – features sculptures of 35 people, all modeled after the residents of Lanzarote. All the sculptures face the same directions and look like they’re walking towards the gate. The Rubicon is meant to represent the climate change.
Another installation, “The Raft of Lampedusa” is a reference to a Romantic painting by French artist Théodore Géricault, called “The Raft Of Medusa”. The sculpture features a sunken boat with many people on board. This installation is meant to depict the realities of the recent refugee crisis. Jason deCaires Taylor even commented on the meaning behind the sculpture in a facebook post. “Drawing parallels between the abandonment suffered by sailors in his shipwreck scene and the current refugee crisis, the work is not intended as a tribute or memorial to the many lives lost but as a stark reminder of the collective responsibility of our now global community,” he said.
“Los Jolateros” is another installation in the Museo Atlantico. It features sculptures of children in small boats. An eerie sight to behold.
There’s also an installation of hybrid half human, half plant sculptures. “The hybrid human/organic sculptures are based on the flora and fauna of the Canary Islands” – deCaires Taylor wrote in a facebook post.
Museo Atlantico Lanzarote isn’t finished yet. More sculptures have yet to be made and more installations to be sunken to the bottom of the sea. When everything is done, this underwater museum will feature 10 separate installations, made up of more than 300 individual sculptures. All of the sculptures are made of materials that are non-toxic and harmless the environment. In fact, all of the installations are meant to serve as an artificial reef and encourage marine life to flourish in this area.
In a way, Museo Atlantico Lanzarote will be an ever changing museum. The way the sculptures and installations look won’t stay the same. Over the years they will be covered in all sorts of seaweed and algae and become a home for many marine life specimens.
To see the behind the scenes of how the museum was created watch this video: