Ocean Sentinels is a series of 8 sculptures, in hybrid form, a synthesis of human figures and natural marine forms. The human figures are predominately Australians whose work in the field of marine science and marine conservation has been highly commended and influential in our understanding of reef protection. The stylised marine forms which surround and envelop them represent their particular field of study and expertise. The artworks aim to create an educational and informative introduction to Great Barrier Reef, celebrating its rich history and its connection to some of the world’s leading marine science institutions and its strong links to indigenous cultures and traditions.
All the sculptures are constructed with a low centre of gravity in order to resist strong oceanic forces. They are made from a new high grade, low carbon Earth Friendly Concrete and reinforced with marine stainless steel. They will be placed on barren stretches of sand and fixed to the seabed off the coast of Magnetic Island. Although completely submerged their shallow depth will be ideal for snorkellers to view them.
The surfaces and forms of the artworks are designed to be colonised by marine life. It is hoped 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.. Like the Great Barrier Reef itself, they will become a living and evolving part of the ecosystem, emphasising both its fragility and its endurance.
These eight pieces will form part of MOUA, the Museum Of Underwater Art, Australia, a series of ocean based artworks installed throughout the Townsville region. Magnetic Island is historically significant as the site of one of the world’s first observations of coral spawning by one of the models for the artworks, Dr Peter Harrision, in 1981. All 8 models are renowned for their expertise in the field of marine science and marine conservation and their hybrid forms make reference to their contribution to their specific field of study.
The sculptures commissioned by MOUA were funded by state and federal governments funds.