This Underwater Sculpture Park Is Attracting Marine Life!

Oct 08, 2021by Olivia - F&F

Can you imagine swimming in an underwater museum? The Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (MUSAN) features 93 sculptures on the ocean floor, just 200 metres off the coast of Cyprus. This spectacular sunken forest — designed by artist and environmental activist, Jason deCaires Taylor — is designed to attract marine wildlife and shine a spotlight on ocean conservation, climate change, and our connection to the natural world.

MUSAN Is An Underwater Forest

MUSAN is the first of its kind in the world! The underwater museum — located off the coast of Pernera beach in Ayia Napa, Cyprus — features 93 extraordinary sculptures placed 8-10m below sea level, including enormous trees that weigh up to 13 tonnes, as well as children playing hide and seek. 

The artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, spent almost three years working on MUSAN! The entire installation explores the complex relationship between humans and nature.

"I tried to incorporate as many references to climate change and habitat loss and pollution as I could, because those are really the defining issues of our era,” Taylor said to CNN Travel. “I'm kind of hoping that it leaves the visitor with a sense of hope along with a sense that the human impact isn't always negative — that we can reverse some of the things we've done.”

MUSAN Will Attract Marine Life

The coolest aspect of MUSAN is that it’s not just aesthetically pleasing, it also serves a functional purpose! The sculptures are made from inert pH neutral materials, which means that they will provide food and shelter for marine life — potentially for hundreds of years.  

According to Taylor, “they're designed to sort of let natural growth settle on the substrate. After five or six days, I could already see a thin film of algae on each of the heads of the sculptures, which have these quite complex habitat areas, and they were already full with little juvenile fish.” 

“So that was very, very encouraging. I'm really looking forward to going back in a couple of months time and seeing how it aggregates marine life," said Taylor.

MUSAN Shines A Spotlight On Ocean Conservation

MUSAN is beautiful and functional, but it was also designed to promote ocean conservation and the rewilding process of barren habitats. Marine life in the Mediterranean Sea has been seriously depleted over the last 20 years due to overfishing, and that’s why MUSAN is situated in a barren stretch of sand within a marine protected area. It’s about bringing life back to a lifeless area — and eventually, marine organisms will completely take over the statues. 

"It's meant to convey that we need to look after these protected areas massively and we need to talk about policing them in a much, much tighter way. And I'm certain it will bring people closer to the marine environment and the conservation and protection of our marine ecosystem,” said Taylor.

Soon, You’ll Be Able To Swim In MUSAN! 

That’s right! Soon, MUSAN will be accessible to divers and snorkellers via bookings from a local dive centre. 

Starting on Pernera beach, the lucky divers and snorkellers will be able to dive into the stunning blue water to reach the eerie, submerged sculptures — and hopefully soon — the museum will feature a massive array of marine plants and species! Taylor hopes that MUSAN will attract more visitors to the marine protected area of Cyprus. 

Closer to home, Taylor has actually worked on several installations for Australia's Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) on the Great Barrier Reef! MOUA features the ‘Ocean Siren’, a statue of a female figure, and the ‘Coral Greenhouse’ — a 158-tonne structure containing twenty ‘reef guardian’ statues! He’s currently working on new exhibits for MOUA, which is exciting.

We love the way MUSAN is designed to be beautiful and functional — but also to spread the important message of ocean conservation. Someday soon, this exquisite underwater museum will be teeming with marine species; bringing life back to a once-barren area!  

Interested in eco-art? Check out these amazing examples below!

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