International artist Jason deCaires Taylor has curated Europe’s first underwater museum.
Museo Atlántico, located in the waters off the Spanish island of Lanzarote, features a powerful collection of completely submerged sculptures at depths of between 40 and 50 feet. Like deCaires Taylor’s similar projects in Mexico, the Bahamas and England’s River Thames, these installations—made out of pH-neutral marine cement—are meant to raise ecological and political awareness.
One installation titled The Rubicon details 35 life-like statues mid-walk beneath the waves, representing climate change. The Raft of Lampedusa, a sculpted boat carrying 13 refugees, is modeled after “The Raft of the Medusa,” a painting by French artist Théodore Géricault.
“Drawing parallels between the abandonment suffered by sailors in this shipwreck scene and the current refugee crisis, the work is not intended as a tribute or memorial to the many lives lost,” deCaires Taylor said of the work in a Facebook post. “But as a stark reminder of the collective responsibility of our now global community.”
Scuba divers and snorkelers can see the installations up close when the museum opens on February 25. Below, watch a behind-the-scenes clip of it all coming to life.