Underwater art installations are all the rage right now. Europe’s first and only underwater museum made waves when it opened off the coast of Lanzarote—a Spanish island—in January, and America’s first underwater museum followed suit, opening to divers in Florida in late June.
Now, the Maldives—a true pioneer in underwater entertainment—has its own semi-submerged art gallery. Dubbed the Coralarium, the new art installation has found a home at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi, a luxury resort located in the Shaviyani Atoll.
The sculptures, designed by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, double as a habitat for marine life. Each atoll in the Maldives is unique for the types of creatures you’ll see there, whether it’s whale sharks or sea turtles. In the Shaviyani Atoll, divers and snorkelers are most likely to spot eagle and marble rays, schools of batfish, and guitar sharks. And unlike the underwater museum in Florida, which is designed for divers, the Coralarium can be enjoyed with just a snorkel and goggles in tow. Don’t be surprised if you end up feeling like more of an attraction than a spectator, though.
“It’s almost like an inverse zoo,” deCaires Taylor says in video. “So in cities, we go into space and we look at caged animals. Whereas this is almost like we’re the tourists, but we’re in the cage and the marine life can come and go and look at us.”
3 The Coralarium is a 200-ton tidal building filled with sculptures, creating a partially submerged gallery in the Maldives.
6 The artwork will act as an artificial reef, connecting the environment with the installation.