Artist’s undersea museum evolves into stunningly surreal reef

A surreal undersea art project is receiving noticeable help from Mother Nature six months after its installation in the azure waters off Cancun, Mexico.

British artist Jason deCaires Taylor completed “Silent Evolution” — a collection of hyper-realistic life-size sculptures of people from around the world — last fall.

As it was nearing completion he produced a video, which was featured on this website, showing many of his 400-plus sculptures resting on the ocean floor, the faces of each expressing vividly the moods and emotions of the artist’s subjects.

DeCaires Taylor now has released a new video showing the transformation of his concrete sculptures into perhaps the world’s most unusual artificial reef. Fish have found sanctuary among the sculptures, many of which have grown masks of coral and algae that attract and support smaller life forms.

(See the video below. The first 3:35 shows the more captivating transformation; the rest is behind-the-scenes footage.)

The ambitious project entailed years of work and resembles a cross section of human society spread across 420 acres of ocean floor within Cancun’s National Marine Park. It’s supported by the park and the Cancun Nautical Association.

The sprawling museum was designed to attract scuba divers, thus relieving diving pressure from the area’s more fragile natural reefs.

Also, by creating sculptures of people from various walks of life — from an 85-year-old nun to a 3-year-old boy, to a doctor, fisherman and student, etc. — the artist has states that environmental issues affect everyone.

DeCaires Taylor explains on his website: “The installation portrays a gathering of people, illustrating how we are all facing serious questions concerning our environment and our impact on the natural world. The work is optimistic and forward looking, expressing hope that there will be unity in dealing with this problem.”

Now that colorful reef fish and other sea creatures have found a home amid the sculptures, and that the project has become popular among scuba divers and snorkelers, the evolution of the artist’s finished product remains both silent, and wonderfully evident.

— Image is courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor and protected by ÃÃ'©copyright laws