Amazing Undersea Sculptures: Museum of Underwater Art

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Coral Greenhouse
Coral Greenhouse. Museum of Underwater Art photo.

Museum of Underwater Art: Townsville, Queensland Australia

By Aysia Reed

The Museum of Underwater Art is the only underwater museum in all of the Southern Hemisphere!

The Museum of Underwater Art is not your traditional art gallery—it’s a museum located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, and features globally known artists and their sculptures.

Museo Atlantico. Jason deCaires Taylor photo.
Museo Atlantico. Jason deCaires Taylor photo.

The focal point of the art installations is the conservation, education, and restoration of the Great Barrier Reef.

The unusual underwater gallery was created by Jason deCaires Taylor, who is the first to utilize the ocean as his exhibit area.

Taylor first began by displaying his pieces underwater in Mexico and Spain at the MUSO and Museo Atlantico, but quickly shifted his focus to the Great Barrier Reef due to its need for conservation and the beauty it beholds underwater.

Taylor also created the Museum of Underwater Art because he wants people to know that the reef is still in excellent condition, and has some of the most refined corals on the planet.

Ocean Siren

Spotting an illuminated sculpture rising from the ocean is a rare occurrence- but the Museum of Underwater Art flawlessly created this unique sight.

Ocean Siren in Queensland
Ocean Siren emerging from the ocean. Museum of Underwater Art photo.

In 2019, the Museum of Underwater Art opened its first art installation, Ocean Siren. The sculpture appears as if a woman is emerging out of the ocean, standing tall with a shell clutched in her hand.

The statue was modeled and based on Takoda Johnson, a 12-year-old girl a part of the native Wulgurukaba people. The Wulgurukaba are the landowners of The Strand, Townsville, where the statue resides.

At dusk, the Ocean Siren’s true colors come about.

LED Lights that Change

The art piece is fully illuminated with color-changing LED lights that change based on the temperature of the sea. The data used to track the temperature comes directly from the weather station on the Great Barrier Reef.

The captivating statue is an indication warning that our sea temperatures are continuing to dangerously rise. The mission of the Ocean Siren is to inspire positive change for our planet’s environment and to begin conservation action on the reef.

The most promising view of the Ocean Siren can be seen from the beachfront promenade at the Strand.

The Ocean Siren was created by Jason deCaires Taylor, the creator of the museum.

Coral Greenhouse

Also cultivated by Taylor are the sculptures of 20 marine biologist students located underwater at John Brewer Reef, in Townsville. They were installed in 2020 and are part of the largest art piece at the Museum of Underwater Art.

A reef guardian. Museum of Underwater Art photo.
A reef guardian. Museum of Underwater Art photo.

A massive stainless steel structure houses the sculptures of the underwater scholars, who have been given the name “reef guardians.”

The sculptures have been given this title because their purpose is to be a suitable environment for new marine life to inhabit.

It also encourages species to populate the Great Barrier Reef, which will help restore it.

Scuba diving is encouraged to capture the entirety of the Coral Greenhouse. The sculptures can also be spotted by snorkeling, giving a distant view of the art piece and the fish who now freely occupy the reef guardians.

How to Visit the Underwater Museum

Scuba Diving and snorkeling may not be ideal for everyone, so you are probably wondering about other possible options for viewing the magnificent art pieces. Commercial tour operators such as ProDive Magnetic Island and Adrenalin Dive Townsville offer expeditions to the Museum of Underwater Art by boat.

A breathing apparatus is also provided for those adventurous enough to dive deep into the ocean to get an up-close view of the structure.

Magnetic Island. Museum of Underwater Art photo.
Magnetic Island. Museum of Underwater Art photo.

You can also take a private boat to the sculpture, which is free of charge.

Upcoming Pieces at the Museum of Underwater Art

Magnetic Island and Palm Island are up next for the expansion of the Museum of Underwater Art.

Taylor will transform the water surrounding the islands by constructing more sea sculptures. The natural coral reef and sparkling ocean encompassing the enclaves will be alluring assets that will help highlight Taylor’s further creations and conservation of the sea.