Underwater Museums and Revealing the River

Rising Tide was part of the hugely successful Totally Thames Festival shown in London last month. This part of the collection, put together by an artist taking his first London commission, consisted of four equine sculptures placed on the shores of The Thames at Nine Elms. Like Gorman’s iron men at Crosby, they were placed looking seaward and best visible at low tide.

However the artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, is better known to me for another project. He is currently putting the finishing touches to a project in my home town of Playa Blanca on Lanzarote. This project is the building of The Museo Atlantico, which will be the first underwater museum in Europe.

Before I left Rochdale I was told that the cost would be prohibitive even of  the laying of stones engraved with poetry along the bed of the part of The Roch to be revealed in the town’s current project. Given that response, an underwater museum seems particularly ambitious.

Both the Rising Tide exhibits and the work on the Museo Atlantico received amazing press in September when images of both works were spread all over the social media. In fact my research revealed radio broadcasts, major daily papers and magazines, arts trade press and tv coverage on ITV and BBC as well ABC USA, all of which referenced not only Jason’s Rising Tide exhibition but also his work here on Lanzarote.

Jason has been living on the island since commencing building the Museo Atlantico eighteen months ago. I have no doubt that the profile enjoyed by Rising Tide will be of great benefit to the island when the work is eventually opened.

The Totally Thames initiative was the brainchild of London Mayor Boris Johnson. He was sent a copy of a feature review of the project in Lancelot, the Lanzarote Tourist Guide, to which he responded personally.

Publicity and Media Relations are being handled by Four Colman Gerry, one of the UK’s leading PR firms, who also represent the Man Booker prize.

The innovation of Jason’s building of an underwater museum on Lanzarote seems to fit an island with an identity moulded by the late artist Cesar Manrique, as featured recently on these pages. He adored the island of his birth and made his life’s work out of protecting and extolling its natural features, sculpting a shell around nature, without altering the original scene, to better present the tableau.

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