Ultimately destined as micro reefs in the Great Barrier Reef, five of the Museum of Underwater Art’s (MOUA) sculptures will be put on display at the Museum of Tropical Queensland before being installed in their final underwater home.
Museum of Tropical Queensland presents the Museum of Underwater Art’s Ocean Sentinels above the surface exhibit provides a unique opportunity for visitors to connect with the artworks and learn about the Great Barrier Reef and its future.
MOUA board director, Paul Victory, said: “The chance to see the world-class sculptures in the flesh and learn about their stories, promoting reef conservation and the link between art and science to a wider audience, is incredible.”
“This unique exhibit allows the public to enjoy and experience the next stage of the Museum of Underwater Art and learn about the important work we’ve been doing with coral planting, reef health surveys, providing education and work opportunities for Indigenous guides, and more,” he added.
The sculptures have been created to highlight the important work of world-leading marine scientists. World-renowned artist Jason deCaires Taylor designed and created the hybrid form sculptures that celebrate the work of eight marine scientists and community members, who have been influential in reef protection studies.
“I hope that in years to come a variety of endemic species such as corals, sponges and hydroids will change the sculptures’ appearance in vibrant and unpredictable ways,” deCaires Taylor said. “Like the Great Barrier Reef itself, they will become a living and evolving part of the ecosystem, emphasising both its fragility and its endurance.”
The second stage of the MOUA project offers a unique tourism experience in Townsville North Queensland, and is expected to generate more than A$22 million (US$15.9 million) each year for Townsville’s visitor economy, said member for Mundingburra Les Walker.
“The Palaszczuk government has invested A$4 million in the Museum of Underwater Art because we know how important it is to invest in projects to bring visitors to Townsville. We know the Museum of Underwater Art has great potential to attract divers and snorkelers from across Australia and the world,” said Walker.
“The timing of this new investment in tourism is welcome after the economic impact of Covid-19. This is a fantastic addition to the region’s tourism attractions as we show North Queensland to the world ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he added.
It is envisaged that the sculptures will be installed by June 2022, with the final location to be decided by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. They will be installed in shallow depths, allowing snorkellers to get up close to the sculptures.