Grenada’s underwater sculpture park at Molinere Bay has welcomed new members of its underwater sculpture population.
“Wonder of the World”
Listed as one of National Geographic’s 25 Wonders of the World, the unique Caribbean sculpture park was first installed in 2006 and has been described as “instrumental” in the creation of the Marine Protected Area around it. Positioned up to eight metres below the water’s surface, the sculptures here are mostly by artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
It’s only possible to visit the sculpture park by scuba diving, snorkelling or by glass bottom boats with departures from St. Georges and Grand Anse, not far away. Despite this exclusivity, thanks to social media, some of the sculptures have already become beloved all over the world, like the gardens’ circle of children who hold hands facing out towards the ocean currents, or a nearby man sitting eerily alone at a typewriter.
The Coral Carnival
Now, in 2023, commissioned by the Grenadian Ministry of Implementation and Tourism, 27 new artworks have been installed. As well as updating two existing sculptures, 25 new pieces make up a work entitled “The Coral Carnival.”
For the first time, deCaires Taylor has used colour. The new characters are made using high-grade stainless steel and pH-neutral marine cement painted with a calcium carbonate base and natural pigments to depict “masqueraders” taking part in Grenada’s annual Spicemas and Fancymas festival.
Through well-known carnival figures like the “double devil” character Jab Jab and the tall-hatted “Vieux Corps”, deCaires Taylor explores Grenada’s rich culture, while incorporating satirical nods to the practice of slavery whose victims are commemorated. Though some were partly constructed in the UK, all the figures are drawn from models of real local people.
“The carnival is obviously a very, very strong part of Grenada’s culture and history, so they wanted to tell that story,” deCaires Taylor said, speaking to CNN Travel. He worked alongside Grenadian artist Troy Lewis, who made four of the new sculptures, including Christ of the Deep.
“What’s quite interesting about these characters is the silhouettes are really, really strong,” deCaires Taylor noted.
“They’re so unique that the silhouettes are quite striking from a distance. I haven’t seen that before.”
Good neighbours make good friends
The artist, who has expressed concern about high marine temperatures and the bleaching of local coral, also expressed contentment that the local marine life had already accepted the new neighbours.
“There was an octopus that moved into the base of one of them, which is really nice to see,” he said. A family of crabs had also adopted the base of one sculpture and a stingray had taken up home in another, he added.