An underwater eco-museum has opened in Cannes, off the shore of the island of Sainte-Marguerite. It’s home to sculptures created by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, and access is free.
It’s the first underwater eco-museum in France and the Mediterranean by the renowned sculptor.
Hewn from an ecological material, it’s hoped the statues will encourage the return of underwater flora and fauna around the works, which has been set aside for safe swimming. Boats have been banned from mooring in the area.
Standing two metres tall and weighing about ten tons each, the six statues that make up the museum will provide a refuge for underwater life. Submerged at a distance of 84 to 132 metres from the shore, at a depth of 3 to 5 metres, the sculptures are accessible to most divers equipped with a mask and snorkel.
Standing two metres tall and weighing about ten tons each, the six statues that make up the museum will provide a refuge for underwater life…
“What a joy it is to see the culmination of this magnificent project,” says David Lisnard, Mayor of Cannes. “In 2015, I was struck by the images of his work in Mexico. They were powerful and dreamlike, with a true ecological dimension. The installation of these sculptures in Cannes now creates an enlarged, safe swimming area, a wonderful setting to discover its underwater life. The water is clear, the seabed sandy, and the statues can now play their role as home to fauna and flora.”
The sculps are of six Cannes residents. The six faces were taken out by barge and then submerged near the southern shore of Sainte-Marguerite. The swimming area within which the sculptures are installed has quadrupled in size.
Lisnard says the ecomuseum symbolises the value of cultural necessity and the preservation of the environment.
The theme of the attraction, chosen jointly by the Mayor of Cannes and the artist, evokes the Man in the Iron Mask, who was imprisoned for eleven years on the island. It also pays tribute to the ‘7th art’ (aka cinema), for which Cannes is a major hub.
The work of Jason deCaires Taylor can also be found in the waters of Lanzarote, the Thames, the Bahamas, Cancun, Oslo and Granada.