A new Australian museum is installing sculptures – most of them under water – that educate about the dangerously rising ocean temperatures and that aim to protect corals on the Great Barrier Reef .
The first piece installed at the new Museum of Underwater Art in Queensland is called the Ocean Siren – and it’s the only one set up above the water. The sculpture, installed in 2019, represents a descendent of Australia’s indigenous Wulgurukaba people, who looks towards the ocean holding up a shell above her head. It glows in red light to point to global warming. Warm waters could kill corals, and the sculpture lights up in pink and red when a weather station in nearby Davies Reef detects warmer than usual water temperatures.
“Major changes are happening, and major ecosystems are being lost,” says the sculpture’s creator Jason deCaires Taylor to Atlas Obscura. “So, I wanted to bring that threat right in front of our faces… and to convey in real time what’s happening.”
Other sculptures will be placed in three underwater sculpture gardens. The first among them, which has recently been completed, is called the Coral Greenhouse. The sculptures are made of materials that encourage corals and marine creatures to colonize the artwork and provide fish with a safe habitat from predators.