UN­DER WA­TER WORLD

WORLD- RENOWNED BRI­TISH ARTIST JA­SON DECAIRES TAY­LOR THIS WEEK HAS BEEN TOUR­ING SITES OFF TOWNSVILLE WHICH COULD BE LO­CA­TIONS FOR ONE OF HIS UNIQUE UN­DER­WA­TER MU­SE­UMS, RE­PORTS DOMANII CAMERON.

Townsville Bulletin - - WATER WORLD SECTION -

BE­LOW the sur­face of the ocean, artist Ja­son deCaires Tay­lor has imag­ined and cre­ated new worlds. With the chang­ing land­scape of ocean beds as a back­drop, Mr deCaires Tay­lor has cre­ated his fan­tas­tic art­works off coast­lines around the world.

And now the in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned Bri­tish artist could cre­ate more of his vi­sion­ary works on Townsville’s doorstep to draw tourists to the re­gion.

Mr deCaires Tay­lor has been scout­ing lo­ca­tions near Townsville this week for Aus­tralia’s first un­der­wa­ter mu­seum, vis­it­ing Palm Is­land, Mag­netic Is­land and The Strand.

“It ( Townsville) is fan­tas­tic, it’s a beau­ti­ful land­scape and has beau­ti­ful sights,” he said.

“I’m sure we can cre­ate some­thing quite spe­cial, Townsville is ideally lo­cated.”

The artist was in­vited to the re­gion by an Aus­tralian Mu­seum of Un­der­wa­ter Art Project Team backed by Townsville En­ter­prise, the Townsville and Palm Is­land coun­cils, James Cook Univer­sity, en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tancy Reef Eco­logic and ma­rine op­er­a­tor SeaLink.

Com­mu­nity lead­ers be­lieve his works could not only boost tourism but draw at­ten­tion to the grow­ing needs of the reef.

The world’s first un­der­wa­ter mu­seum, which was cre­ated by Mr deCaires Tay­lor off Gre­nada in 2006, is now listed by Na­tional Ge­o­graphic as one of the Top 25 Won­ders of the World.

The artist then went on to cre­ate a grow­ing num­ber of works, in­clud- ing the Museo Subacu­atico de Arte off the coast of Can­cun, Mex­ico in 2009.

It re­sulted in an­nual vis­i­tor num­bers in­creas­ing al­most 400,000.

His works fea­ture life- size sculp­tures of hu­mans and other ob­jects made out of ce­ment.

While many pieces can be seen while div­ing and snorkelling, Mr de- Caires Tay­lor has of­ten po­si­tioned the works along shore­lines, in­clud­ing the River Thames out­side Par­lia­ment House in Lon­don.

Th­ese can be seen with­out hav­ing to swim, depend­ing on tides.

The project needs $ 2 mil­lion to pro­ceed with SeaLink ex­pect­ing to an­nounce cor­po­rate fi­nan­cial sup­port next week. Al­ready, the Mor­ris Group, which owns The Ville Re­sort- Casino and the Or­pheus Is­land Re­sort, has pledged $ 200,000.

Mr deCaires Tay­lor said Townsville had an amaz­ing coast­line.

“It’s been re­ally good in Townsville, quite in­tense,” he said.

“We’ve met a lot of peo­ple in a few days. You’ve got Mag­netic Is­land, Palm Is­land and then you have the Great Bar­rier Reef.

“I loved The Strand. Each one stood out in its own right.”

The artist said it was im­por­tant to cre­ate some­thing that worked well with the environment.

“I’m not in­ter­ested in tak­ing any­thing for granted,” he said.

“I don’t have any ideas just yet ( Townsville), I’m not try­ing to push

my­self into a corner. I’m try­ing to do some­thing that I haven’t done be­fore.”

No stranger to North Queens­land, Mr deCaires Tay­lor lived in Air­lie Beach for 18 years while a dive in­struc­tor.

He said North Queens­land would pro­vide the per­fect space to cre­ate a new tourism at­trac­tion.

“This ( ne­go­ti­a­tions) has been go­ing on for around a year when we first touched base — it was all very in­tan­gi­ble,” he said. “But it’s great be­ing here now and feel­ing it so­lid­ify and be­com­ing some­thing real.

“I al­ways fol­low the process of us­ing lo­cals, they’re all life casts ( sculp­tures),” he said. “I have to be on site to do that process. I’m sure there will be many stages to fol­low, it’s ex­cit­ing. There’s a lot of pulling to­gether dif­fer­ent par­ties.”

Mr deCaires Tay­lor said he had a good un­der­stand­ing of the reefs.

“I al­ways thought it would be won­der­ful to do some­thing with the sea,” he said. “Our sea cov­ers two thirds of our planet and is a largely un­known en­tity.”

Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

UN­DER­WA­TER WORLDS: Pic­tured are ex­am­ples of the work of Ja­son deCaires Tay­lor from around the world. Mr deCaires Tay­lor ( left left ) ) vis­ited Townsville this week look­ing for new lo­ca­tions for his art.

Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

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