Title: Ocean Atlas
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Installation date: 2014
Installed at the beginning of October 2014 on the western coastline of New Providence in Nassau, Bahamas, “Ocean Atlas” references the Ancient Greek sculpture of Titan Atlas holding the heavens but depicts a young local Bahamian girl sustaining the ceiling of the ocean. The largest single sculpture ever to be deployed underwater, it reaches from the sea floor five meters up to the surface and weighs over sixty tonnes. Assembled underwater in sections using an ambitious new technique developed and engineered by Jason deCaires Taylor.
The sculpture commissioned by B.R.E.E.F (Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation) aims to create an underwater sculpture garden in honor of its founder Sir Nicholas Nuttall. It includes other sculptural works by local artists Willicey Tynes and Andret John and an artificial reef trail designed by Reefball.
The new work, which during low tide will reflect a mirror image on the underside of the sea’s surface, is a dramatic increase in scale from Taylor’s previous works and ensures that even after substantial coral growth the figure will still remain highly recognisable. A solar light and flag is located on the highest point to aid marine navigation.
Constructed using sustainable pH neutral materials it creates an artificial reef for marine life to colonise and inhabit, whilst drawing tourists away from over stressed natural reef areas.
With our oceans and coral reefs currently facing collapse from numerous threats including; overfishing, habitat loss, ocean acidification, global warming and water pollution the piece symbolizes the burden we are currently asking future generations to carry and the collective responsibility we have to prevent its collapse.