Jason DeCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor, born in 1974 to an English father and a Guyanese mother, is a sculptor, environmentalist and professional underwater photographer. He graduated from the London Institute of Arts in 1998 with a BA Honours in Sculpture. Taylor became the first of a new generation of artists to shift the concepts of the Land art movement into the realm of the marine environment.
His permanent site-specific sculptural works are predominately exhibited in submerged and tidal marine environments, exploring modern themes of conservation and environmental activism. Over the past 17 years, Taylor has been one of the first to consider the underwater realm as a public art space and is best known for his numerous large-scale underwater “Museums” and “Sculpture Parks”.
Taylor gained international recognition in 2006 with the creation of the world’s first underwater sculpture park, situated off the west coast of Grenada in the West Indies. Moilinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park is now listed as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic. The park was instrumental in the government declaring the site a National Marine Protected Area. Taylor has gone on to produce over 1,100 public terrestrial and underwater sculptures worldwide, which are visited by thousands of visitors each week.
The works are constructed using pH neutral, environmentally sensitive materials to instigate natural growth and the subsequent changes intended to explore the aesthetics of decay, rebirth and metamorphosis. Taylor’s pioneering public art projects are not only examples of successful marine conservation, but works of art that seek to encourage environmental awareness and lead us to appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty of the underwater world.
He has received numerous sculpture and photography awards, is a member of The Royal Society of Sculptors, an Ocean Ambassador to DAN (Divers Alert Network), an Ocean Exemplar of The World Ocean Observatory and a featured TED speaker. Taylor has been recognised for both creativity and inspirational leadership in recent years by Fast Company and Global Leaders Today. Taylor was awarded The Global Thinker Award by Foreign Policy and was described as the Jacques Cousteau of the art world.
The first underwater ecomuseum in France and the Mediterranean is in Cannes!
Six Cannois lent their features to the artist for this project, the theme of which is the mask. The result: two-metre-high faces, each weighing around 10 tonnes, which pay tribute to the man in the iron mask who was imprisoned on the island for 11 years, and to the 7th art form, of which Cannes is the capital every year during its festival.
“I wanted local people, anonymous people” – Jason deCaires Taylor
In Cannes, his aim was to bring the local community to life, to involve society and the inhabitants. To create a double face, with a double perspective. The six statues are accessible to everyone at a maximum depth of five metres on the southern shore of the Ile Sainte-Marguerite. No diving equipment is required.
The six faces were transported to the south of the island and submerged, between 84 and 132 metres from the shore. Located at a depth of between 3 and 5 metres, the sculpturesare accessible to the public, as the bathing area has been enlarged to accommodate them. No anchoring is allowed in this Natura 200 zone, to make it easier for the public to access, but above all to bring these previously degraded seabeds back to life.