Extraordinary underwater museum opens off Lanzarote

The Local Spain
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Extraordinary underwater museum opens off Lanzarote
Photos: Canary Islands Tourist Board.

The first completely underwater museum in Europe officially opens today on the ocean floor off the Canary Island of Lanzarote.


The Museo Atlántico - Atlantic Museum - is the vision of British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, who has spent the last two years living on the island creating artworks for the submerged gallery. 

The museum in Coloradas Bay, just off the coast of the town of Yaiza, in the southwest of Lanzarote has been created at a depth of between  12 and 15 meters on the ocean floor and will be accessible to scuba divers and visible to glass-bottom boats.

The first artworks were submerged in February 2016 and almost a year later on January 10th the museum holds its official inaugeration.

The sculptures on display are human forms, some modeled after local residents, and are created to attract plant and animal life, representing the relationship between humans and nature.

"The island is going to show the world one of its most precious secrets - the bottom of our sea," Lanzarote council president Pedro San Ginés said when plans for the museum were announced.

The sculpture exhibits include a couple taking a selfie, meant for viewers to reflect on new technologies and themselves. Another, called The Raft of Lampedusa, makes a statement about the refugee crisis in reference to the Italian island in the Mediterranean where thousands have arrived.

Taylor said he wanted this exhibit to be a tribute to those who succeed, but also those whose "dreams and hopes remain at the bottom of the sea".

The project is designed to increase marine biomass and to act as a breeding site for local species in an area declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco.

The art installations have been created from high-density, PH-neutral concrete that doesn't affect the marine ecosystem or local flora and fauna. No corrosive metals and materials were used.

When completed the Museo Atlántico will comprise 10 separate large-scale installations and more than 300 individual sculptures.

It is not deCaires Taylor's first aquatic venture. He has created similar works in both Cancun, Mexico and Grenada in the West Indies. The sculpture park in Grenada was the first of its kind in the world and has been listed as one of National Geographic's Top 25 Wonders of the World.


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