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Sunday 13 March 2022

Underwater sculptures to be living artworks

Meet an art gallery that will ultimately only be enjoyed from underwater. 

The Museum of Underwater Art, in partnership with Museum of Tropical Queensland, has launched its next stage of sculptures. 

Ultimately destined for the Great Barrier Reef, five of the Museum of Underwater Art's next stage of sculptures are being launched at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, in Townsville, before they are installed in their underwater home.

The Ocean Sentinels display will offer an opportunity to view the works before they begin to transform into their own micro reefs when placed on the Great Barrier Reef.

MOUA board director Paul Victory said the exhibit is about connecting with as many people as possible, to spark meaningful conversation around the Great Barrier Reef and its future.

“The chance to see the world-class sculptures in the flesh and learn about their stories, promoting reef conservation and the link between art and science to a wider audience, is incredible,” he said. 

Incredible might be pushing it - but it is certainly interesting. 

“This unique exhibit allows the public to enjoy and experience the next stage of the Museum of Underwater Art and learn about the important work we've been doing with coral planting, reef health surveys, providing education and work opportunities for Indigenous guides, and more,” he said.

“These are thought-provoking sculptures, they tell a story and have been created to highlight the important work of world-leading marine scientists,” he said.

Artist Jason deCaires Taylor designed and created the hybrid-form sculptures that celebrate the work of eight incredible marine scientists and community members. 

“I hope that in years to come a variety of endemic species such as corals, sponges and hydroids will change the sculptures' appearance in vibrant and unpredictable ways,” deCaires Taylor said.

“Like the Great Barrier Reef itself, they will become a living and evolving part of the ecosystem, emphasising both its fragility and its endurance.” 

Local member for Mundingburra, Les Walker, said the Museum of Underwater Art was shaping up to be one of Queensland's great new tourism attractions.

“This unique North Queensland tourism experience is predicted to generate more than $22 million each year for Townsville's visitor economy,”  he said. 

With politicians it is always about the money; never the art. 

“We know the Museum of Underwater Art has great potential to attract divers and snorkellers from across Australia and the world," Walker added.

“The timing of this new investment in tourism is welcome after the economic impact of Covid-19." 

The artworks will be on display at the Museum of Tropical Queensland until May 15. 

It is envisaged that the sculptures will be installed underwater by June, with the final location to be decided by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

For more details on the MOUA project visit For information on visiting the exhibition at the Museum of Tropical Queensland see

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