See The Great Barrier Reef Underwater Museum


The world’s largest reef system, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, is one of nature’s most extraordinary works of art.

Soon it will be accompanied by an equally extraordinary art installation.

The Museum Of Underwater Art (MOUA) is the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere and features fully and partially submerged works along the Queensland coast, from Townsville to John Brewer Reef.

The opening of the museum in April was postponed to give the tourism sector time to rest after the recent times.

MOUA is The brainchild of renowned Marine sculptor and photographer Jason deCaires Taylor, who was one of the first artists of the new generation to dive into the underwater kingdom and showcase it as an art exhibition space.

The British company has built similar permanent underwater attractions in the Maldives, Mexico, Grenada and the Bahamas, which study each of the themes of nature protection and environmental activism.

MOUA must not only become an important tourist attraction, economic factor, job generator and centre for marine science and research but also focus on protecting, restoring and forming reefs globally.

It is installed in four different locations along the Great Barrier Reef: the coral greenhouse on John Brewer Reef; Ocean Siren, a sculpture off Townsville; and two other pieces still under construction, Palm Island and Magnetic Island.

Weighing about 58 tonnes, the Coral Greenhouse is about two hours by boat from Townsville.

When it starts, tour operators take divers and snorkelers to explore the art project, located about 18 meters underwater.

The submerged site is filled with 20 “Reef Guardian” sculptures, made of non-toxic Marine cement and replicating more than 2,000 coral fragments.

“It is a living work of art. It’s an ever-changing room that will never be the same with every visit,” says deCaires Taylor.

“Part of creating an underwater museum has been to inspire people to think of the sea as something sacred that we should protect and not take for granted.”

The Facility will help create a new thriving ecosystem while reducing pressure on the still recovering reefs, underscoring the importance of reef rehabilitation.

Located next to Townsville’s legendary pier, Ocean Siren is inspired by local girl Takoda Johnson, a member of the wulgurukaba people, one of the area’s two traditional owners.

The sculpture, perched above the sea surface, reacts to live water temperature data from the Davies Reef Weather Station and changes color in response to live water temperature variations.

“The idea of occupying the younger generation is that these children will be the guardians of the reef,” he told ABC News.

“They will somehow take ownership of the environment. I hope people want to know more. It’s not just a nice light screen – there’s a strong message behind it.”

The remaining two MOUA facilities are expected to be completed by the end of 2021. The Installation on Palm Island shows the connection between the reef and the local indigenous community, while the Installation on Magnetic Island celebrates the importance of reef research.


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