Installed earlier this month on the western coastline of New Providence in Nassau, Bahamas, “Ocean Atlas,” is the lastest underwater sculpture by artist Jason deCaires Taylor (previously), known for his pioneering effort to build submerged sculpture parks in oceans around the world. Taylor’s cement figures are constructed with a sustainable pH-neutral material that encourages the growth of coral and other marine wildlife, effectively forming an artificial reef that draws tourists away from diving hotspots in over-stressed areas.
Towering 18 feet tall and weighing in at more than 60 tons, Ocean Atlas is reportedly the largest sculpture ever deployed underwater. The artwork depicts a local Bahamian girl carrying the weight of the ocean above her in reference to the Ancient Greek myth of Atlas, the primordial Titan who held up the celestial spheres. The piece was commissioned by B.R.E.E.F (Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation), as part of an ongoing effort to build an underwater sculpture garden in honor of its founder, Sir Nicholas Nuttal. You can see a bit more over on Atlas Obscura and at the Creator’s Project, who are working on a documentary about the piece.