Imagine going to an art museum and finding yourself surrounded by angel sharks, schools of barracudas, octopuses, sardines and even the occasional butterfly ray.
Well, now you don’t have to imagine it as Lanzarote has made it a reality with the first underwater museum in Europe.
Close to the Bahía de las Coloradas on the south side of the island and covering an area of 2,500 square metres, Jason deCaires, a British ecologist, diver and artist, has created this incredible art project that is completely unique to European waters.
The exhibition includes 10 sculptures with over three hundred figures made from environmentally friendly pH neutral cement to encourage the growth of artificial reefs and marine life in the area.
The underwater museum aims to help improve our understanding of the sea and just how important it is in our lives.
The most photographed sculptures at the Atlantic Museum in Lanzarote
These incredible sculptures have been a source of inspiration for many underwater photographers who have had the unique opportunity to visit the museum since it opened back in January this year.
Here we take you through some of the most photographed sculptures.
- Crossing the Rubicon A piece made up of 35 figures walking towards a wall measuring 30 metres high and 4 metres wide with a rectangular door right at its centre. The wall aims to show us the absurdity of barriers in a natural world, something which is particularly relevant today where there is a growing obsession with borders. It calls attention to and reminds us of the fact that everything, including ourselves, is part of a living system. A living system that is also suffering changes where we need to act quickly before it is too late.
- The Human Gyre Despite being the last piece in this underwater museum, it is one of the most emotive and most photographed sculptures of the exhibition. A human whirlpool made up of two hundred life-size figures laid out in a circle or gyre, which also acts a habitat for various marine species. This art installation reminds us of our own vulnerability against the immense power and strength of the ocean, as well as our dependency on it. After all, the sea supplies us with oxygen, regulates the climate and is an essential food source for millions of people.
- Deregulated. Businessmen in suits blissfully ignore the nature that surrounds them whilst playing in a children’s park on a see saw resembling an oil pump extracting natural resources, referencing to their unregulated use. This is one of the most photographed sculptures of the exhibition.
- The Hybrid Garden. This Sculpture has four sculptures (Hybrid Dragos, Hybrid Cactuses, Hybrid Roots and Hybrid Tubulars) that reference the rich flora and fauna of Lanzarote. The mythical-like sculptures merge humans and nature together with figures of half-human and half-cactus hybrids, showing us existing together in harmony.
- The Raft of Lampedusa. A reflection on the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean referencing the Italian island of Lampedusa. The sculpture takes inspiration from the iconic painting by Theodore Gericáult, “The Raft of the Medusa”, which depicts survivors of a wreck off of the coast of Mauritania. The Raft of Lampedusa recognises those who have lost their lives in search of a better one.
- Los Jolateros. Refers to the boat racing traditions and regattas of Lanzarote. It shows a group of children in brass boats, called jolateros, a metaphor for a future full of instability where our children will have to navigate the vast oceans by themselves on just a scrap of metal.
How to get to the Atlantic Museum
Can’t wait to dive into the waters and discover it for yourself?
The good news is that Lanzarote is easy to get to, as it is less than four hours away from any major city in Europe with multiple flights coming in and out of the island.
Once in Lanzarote, simply get in touch with any of the official diving centres located around the island and book a visit with one of the eco guides trained by the museum and/or the artist themselves.
At an average depth of twelve metres, the dive can be made by divers of all levels.
Come to Lanzarote and discover the first underwater museum in Europe as well as the many other wonders that the island has to offer.
Want to know more about the Atlantic Museum?
More information on the Atlantic Museum