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Saturday, September 18, 2021

The first underwater museum in the Mediterranean has been inaugurated in Cannes

It is the work of Jason deCaires Taylor, an environmental sculptor who has been working for years to restore its beauty to the sea

Near the island of Sainte-Marguerite, off the coast of Cannes , the first underwater museum in the Mediterranean has just opened : it is the work of Jason deCaires Taylor , an environmental sculptor of British origins, who has used the sea as an exhibition space for years , with marvelous works that are real artificial rocks, with a neutral pH so as not to impact the environment and to make flora and fauna proliferate by regenerating marine environments.

This time the sculptor has chosen six monumental portraits, weighing about two meters and ten quintals, each of which represents a member of the local community. For example Maurice, an 80-year-old fisherman, or Anouk, who is a 9-year-old pupil of the island’s primary school. Each face is made up of two parts, one of which is like a mask. It is another homage to Sainte-Marguerite, the prison of the Man with the Iron Mask, protagonist of the novel The Viscount of Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas (and therefore of the film with Leonardo DiCaprio ), but above all a tribute to the sea: from a on the side a symbol of strength and on the other of weakness and fragility, constantly in danger from man due to pollution and intensive fishing.

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Indeed, the choice of the place in which to create the museum was not accidental: it is located in an area previously occupied by debris, completely cleaned up and then also off limits to boats. So now, among the Posidonia meadows where previously there were old engines, the beauty of the sea has taken back its space . The works, however, are between two and three meters deep, perfectly visible even to less experienced snorklers.
The Cannes museum is the latest of many works by Jason deCaires Taylor, who took his art everywhere to draw the world’s attention to the fragility of the sea, but also to highly topical issues. Off the Australian coast of North Queensland, for example, where the coral reef is in grave danger, he has created a Coral Greenhouse . In Lanzarote, on the other hand, he gave life to the Museo Atlantico : the main work is the Zattera di Lampedusa and is a sculpture of a rubber boat with 13 abandoned refugees on board.

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