Colombian art gallery ‘art gallery’ serves as coral home

A unique sculpture gallery with an equally unique goal is emerging on the Caribbean seafloor: housing corals that are endangered by tourism and climate change.

The 25 sculptures that Hugo Osorio and Pedro Fuentes have so far produced create an artificial reef-like structure in the azure waters surrounding the idyllic Isla Fuerte, located off the coast of Colombia.

They are dispersed across the seafloor at a depth of roughly six meters, standing 1.5 meters (almost five feet) tall and drawing predominantly fish but also divers.

The statues have been placed there since 2018 under an initiative named MUSZIF, started by Tatiana Orrego, a fashion designer and island resident.

The plan is for another 25 to follow.

“When I discovered the deterioration of the island’s natural reefs, I saw in the art project a possibility to protect and enhance the life of corals,” Orrego told AFP.

Orrego had placed tiny coral seeds into the clay sculptures and observed their growth.

The founder of Colombia’s first underwater art exhibition went on to say that the sculptures provide the “ideal substrate” for the aquatic creatures to thrive on.

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