Ocean Atlas – Nassau, Bahamas - Atlas Obscura

Nassau, Bahamas

Ocean Atlas

The world’s largest underwater sculpture is found just off the coast of Nassau. 

Artist, photographer, naturalist, and diver Jason deCaires Taylor introduced his record-breaking public sculpture to the crystal Bahamian waters in 2014. Entitled Ocean Atlas, the installation encourages coral colonization and deters tourists from endangered reefs.

Forged from sustainable, pH-neutral materials designed to kickstart local coral growth, Ocean Atlas is a monumental public sculpture submerged five meters beneath the sea, and an environmental gesture intended to portray the positive potential of human interaction with the natural world.

Located off the west coast of New Providence in Nassau, Ocean Atlas is Taylor’s contemporary take on the ancient Greek myth of Atlas—a Titan condemned to carry the heavens on his back for eternity. Rather, Ocean Atlas, commissioned by BREEF (Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation), is a young Bahamian girl “sustaining the ceiling of the ocean,” Taylor’s website explains, as “our oceans and coral reefs currently [face] collapse from numerous threats including overfishing, habitat loss, ocean acidification, global warming and water pollution…”

Taylor founded the world’s first underwater sculpture park in Grenada’s Molinere Bay in 2006. The project, entitled Viccisitudes, was inaugurated with 16 statues of local Grenadian women. The installation is now comprised of 75 sculptures—each depicting a real person—sprawling over 800 square meters.

Taylor has since designed two more submerged museums: MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) in Cancun, billed on his website as “one of the largest and most ambitious underwater artificial art attractions in the world,” with over 500 permanent sculptures forged to scale; and Museo Atlántico, the first submerged contemporary art museum in the Atlantic Ocean, based off the coast of Lanzarote, Spain.

Know Before You Go

'Ocean Atlas' is submerged at a depth of five meters off the coast of Nassau within Clifton Heritage National Park. Book a snorkeling tour of Ocean Atlas.

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