World-renowned underwater sculptor holds workshops in NQ

Work on the Southern Hemisphere’s first Museum of Underwater Art continues this week with world-renowned sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor in Townsville to workshop with local artists and Indigenous representatives.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones welcomed Mr deCaires Taylor back to Townsville to continue work on projects for the Strand, Palm Island and the ‘Coral Greenhouse’ installation on John Brewer Reef.

“Tourism is a cornerstone of the North Queensland economy. By investing in world-class tourism attractions for Townsville, we’re growing the tourism industry to create jobs in this region,” she said.

“Mr deCaires Taylor’s work attracts global interest with tourists and divers eager to interact with his artwork. It’s a real coup to have him in Townsville working with locals this week.

“His first sculpture park off the coast of Grenada created in 2006 is now listed by National Geographic as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World.

“The Museo Subacuático de Arte off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, created by Mr deCaires Taylor in 2009, resulted in an increase of annual visitor numbers of almost 400,000 people. We expect Townsville will reap similar benefits from this amazing drawcard.”

Mr deCaires Taylor said he would begin a series of consultation workshops with local artists, Indigenous representatives, suppliers and manufacturers this week.

“I am very keen to finalise plans for John Brewer Reef and am excited by the installation which will become one of Queensland’s iconic destinations where people can see not only the greenhouse but the coral gardening installations that will support the gallery,” he said.

MOUA Chair and SeaLink General Manager of Growth Paul Victory said Mr deCaires Taylor’s Coral Greenhouse would be a 12 metre high underwater structure that would serve as a tourism drawcard, educational facility and artwork.

“The Coral Greenhouse will be an impressive structure surrounded by sea-scaping and comprising nurseries, organic stems, and more,” he said.

“It is designed to be a liveable habitat for marine life with the skeletal structure providing optimal conditions for coral to grow and thrive.

“Over the coming months the MOUA will be advertising for commercial tourism operators to be officially licensed, to take people to the MOUA sites.”

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the virtual reality animated video, created by Cox Architecture and released today showed locals and tourists what Mr deCaires Taylor’s work would look like.

“The animation showcases the artist’s work and the Great Barrier Reef beautifully and proves why there is global interest in this project.”

Progress continues on another piece of Mr deCaires Taylor’s MOUA art with a pylon recently positioned off the Strand Pier for the ‘Ocean Siren’ statue to be installed later this year.

The five metre solar-powered sculpture of an Indigenous girl changes colour with the water temperature and uses data from atmospheric weather stations on the reef.

Townsville Student and proud Wulgurukaba girl Takoda Johnson was selected as the “muse’ for Ocean Siren. Installations for the third project at Palm Island are planned for mid to late 2020.

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