More than 400 of the permanent sculptures have been installed in recent months in the National Marine Park of Cancún, Isla Mujeres, and Punta Nizuc as part of a major artwork called "The Silent Evolution." The installation is the first endeavor of a new underwater museum called MUSA, or Museo Subacuático de Arte.
Created by Mexico-based British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, the Caribbean installation is intended to eventually cover more than 4,520 square feet (420 square meters), which would make it "one of the largest and most ambitious underwater attractions in the world," according to a museum statement.
In doing so, Taylor hopes the reefs, which are already stressed by marine pollution, warming waters, and overfishing, can catch a break from the approximately 750,000 tourists who visit local reefs each year.
"That puts a lot of pressure on the existing reefs," Taylor told National Geographic News. "So part of this project is to actually discharge those people away from the natural reefs and bring them to an area of artificial reefs."
The characters range in age from a 3-year-old boy, Santiago, to an 85-year-old nun, Rosario (both not pictured), and include an accountant, yoga instructor, and acrobat, among others.
The tight gathering of people is meant to illustrate "how we are all facing serious questions concerning our environment and our impact on the natural world," according to a museum statement.
Divers can either fill the lung by blowing bubbles into a hole on her back or using air from their tanks. The air then slowly escapes though the opening in her mouth.The cement figures will change in appearance over time as coral and other marine life takes over—all part of Taylor's vision.
"The manifestation of living organisms cohabiting and ingrained in our being is intended to remind us of our close dependency on nature and the respect we should afford it," according to a museum statement.
SOURCE: National Geographic