Having tied the dinghy to the park service float, deployed the boarding ladder, and fitted our snorkel masks and fins, we slipped off the Hypalon tubes and into Molinere Bay. Protected by two rock outcroppings to windward and leeward, the bay is on the west coast of Grenada, a few miles north of the entrance to Port Louis at St. Georges.
We saw the familiar; brightly colored fish against a backdrop of pure white Caribbean sand.
Swimming across the bay in about 20-30 feet of water, we could barely distinguish the outline of a shaped form, as the somewhat overcast skies and turbulent waters made visibility less than clear. As we approached, the outline slowly came into focus – ethereal, almost haunting, lifelike forms, underwater, standing on the seabed, holding hands, yet with sea life swimming around them, small pieces of coral attaching themselves to the body forms. Angled rays of light streaming down.
In 2006, the British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor opened the world’s first underwater sculpture park featuring a collection of ecological contemporary art. The works are derived from life casts of the local community. He installed concrete figures onto the ocean floor, mostly consisting of a range of human forms ranging from solitary individuals to a ring of children holding hands, facing into the oceanic currents.
The artist explains: Vicissitudes depicts a circle of figures, all linked through holding hands. These are life size casts taken from a group of children of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Circular in structure….the work both withstands strong currents and replicates one of the primary geometric shapes, evoking ideas of unity and continuum……The sculpture proposes growth, chance, and natural transformation. It shows how time and environment impact on and shape the physical body. Children by nature are adaptive to their surroundings. Their use within the work highlights the importance of creating a sustainable and well-managed environment, a space for future generations.