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Coralarium

WHERE LAND, SEA & ART COLLIDE

The Coralarium is situated in the centre of the largest developed coral lagoon in the Maldives, on the island resort of Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi and is a semi-submerged tidal gallery that interlinks the skyline, inter-tidal waterline and seabed.

Conceptualised by celebrated British environmentalist and eco-artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, the abstract sculptures are inspired by the natural beauty of the coral reef and have been designed to imitate the ethereal formation of coral colonies. Rising from ten, semi-submerged plinths within the Coralarium, the installation aims to raise awareness of the threatened ecosystem, educate guests about the underwater world and rehabilitate the reef. Rising from the sea into the sky, the tessellated sculptures act as a visual connector between the aquatic world, and the land.

The Coralarium structure, and the sculptures within, act as an artificial reef, encouraging local marine life to make it a home. Up to 5m tall, each one of the soaring sculptures is constructed of more than 500 ceramic ‘starfish’ that have been specifically designed to attract a variety of fish and crustaceans - the hard shells catch and hold biomass, or ‘fish food’, which encourage coral larvae to attach and thrive, while nooks and dark cubbyholes in the structures provide a hiding place for a variety of fish and shellfish. Each sculpture is brought to life through its union with the life that attaches to it, transforming them from concrete to textured, living organisms.

As one of the world’s most celebrated ‘underwater naturalists’, Taylor’s works become an integral part of the local eco-system, created with non-toxic, marine-grade compounds, free from harmful pollutants. The steel Coralarium structure, first installed in 2018, has quickly become inundated with marine life, and adventurous guests eager to discover the thriving underwater world. Hard corals, sponges and thousands of schooling fish now live within its walls, that are perforated with a coral pattern to allow beams of light to illuminate the sculptures.

Strategically placed to lead snorkelers into various ‘zones’ of the Coralarium, the sculptures can be explored from a sea-scaped coral pathway, that leads from the 200m infinity pool at the heart of the island – the longest in the Maldives. Diving adventures and snorkelling sessions with the marine biologist showcase Fairmont Maldives’ best diving spots, right at the five-mile-long house reef, home to many manta ray cleaning stations. Those inspired by Taylor’s installation can even create their own marine-inspired masterpiece in the on-site art studio, or plant their own coral, which they can see flourish as they revisit in years to come.

FACT SHEET PRESS RELEASE

 

 

Jason deCaires Taylor

Jason deCaires Taylor is a sculptor, environmentalist and professional underwater photographer. Born in 1974 to an English father and Guyanese mother, Taylor graduated from the London Institute of Arts in 1998 with a BA Honours in Sculpture.

His permanent site-specific works span several continents and predominately explore submerged and tidal marine environments. His multi-disciplinarily sculptural works explore modern themes of conservation and environmental activism; Over the past 10 years Taylor has created several large-scale underwater “Museums” and “Sculpture Parks”, with collections of over 850 life-size public works.

The works are constructed using pH neutral materials to instigate natural growth and the subsequent changes intended to explore the aesthetics of decay, rebirth and metamorphosis. His pioneering public art projects are not only examples of successful marine conservation, but works of art that seek to encourage environmental awareness, instigate social change and lead us to appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty of the underwater world.

Underwater Sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor