The Fairmont Hotel in the Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi, has opened the world's first semi-submerged art gallery. It’s called a “coralarium,” and it contains almost 30 sculptures that will be a habitat for coral and other marine species. Some of the pieces will rest above sea level, with others residing below and a few in-between.
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It took around nine months to prepare the installation using a solid but transparent frame that was built with pH-neutral marine steel. Fish and snorkelers alike are free to explore the gallery, which was designed and created by British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. He used casts of real people to build the amazing sculptures.
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Taylor is best known for installing site-specific underwater sculptures which develop into artificial coral reefs, integrating his skills as a sculptor, marine conservationist, underwater photographer and scuba diving instructor. He’s done similar work in Cancun, the Bahamas, and Grenada, the latter of which was featured as a part of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic.
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The exhibit, which is right off the coast in the southern Indian Ocean, essentially appears to be a large cube with stylized cutouts in its walls. The placement of the 28 statues, modeled after local residents, is based on the artist’s representation of the interconnectedness of humanity. There’s definitely a lot going on with this amazing piece. Beyond the artwork, all of the materials used in the structure, including natural elements from the sea itself, were carefully chosen so as the make sure they have no negative impact on their natural surroundings. Check out a video of the spectacular Coralarium below…