For you to explore this semi-submerged art gallery, you need to swim beneath the surface.
The Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort located on a ‘secret water island’, has partnered with British naturalist and sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, to launch a tidal gallery featuring a series of sculptural artworks. The Coralarium, as it is called, pays homage to sea life and the coral house reef surrounding the resort.
The coralarium took a full nine months to complete and features a 20-foot-tall covering structure that breaks through the water’s surface, but its appearance changes depending on the tides. The walls of the structure allows water and marine life to pass freely through it while divers and snorkelers can explore inside. It also acts as a shelter for smaller marine life.
This isn't deCaires Taylor's first, or second, underwater exhibition. In 2016, he exhibited intertidal sculptures of four horsemen, in London, which could only be viewed in their entirety for two hours when the tide is low on river Thames.
For the Coralarium, he says:
“The Coralarium is a place of preservation, conservation and education. Together with the resort, we hope to raise awareness for the protection of Maldivian coral reefs. I want to see a better future for the ocean, for people to see it as a delicate place, worthy of our protection. [...] It's almost like an inverse zoo. So in cities, we go into space and we look at caged animals. Whereas this is almost like we’re the tourists, but we’re in the cage and the marine life can come and go and look at us.”
With just a snorkel and goggles, you can easily explore the sculptures in the Coralarium. During the day, tour groups swim out to the Coralarium from the beach on guided tours led by resident marine biologists, who provide some context for the artworks and surrounding marine life.
Would you like to visit this art gallery?