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Underwater Sculpture in Sosua Bay

How an underwater sculpture is helping to accelerate coral reef restoration in Sosua, Dominican Republic.

A collective of artists, environmental NGO’s, and marine biologists have united to create an underwater sculpture inspired by Atabey, the Universal Mother of the Taino people. The Taino were the indigenous people of the Dominican Republic, the first people to encounter Columbus and Spanish colonialism.

Through culture, art, and science, a community-driven movement is being led to improve both the ecology and quality of life for reef-dependent communities such as Sosua, Dominican Republic.

The sculpture that was created symbolizes the revival of indigenous wisdom with an aim to restore the biodiversity of the coral reef ecosystem. The Initiative is a collaboration between the Maguá Ecological Foundation, Global Coralition, and the Ministry of the Environment.  The project contributors also include Mary Jean Infante and Irka Mateo, in relation to its anthropological aspects, and Hanna Bueno, cultural manager and liaison for the Dominican Ministry of Culture.

Submerged in the heart of Sosúa Bay, this sculpture of Atabey, the Arawacan and Taino deity, is a reference point for historical, cultural, touristic, and environmental contributions. One of the largest underwater sculptures in the Caribbean, at 16 feet, this construction is in steel and specialized ph neutral cement.

The Atabey deployment will bring together local stakeholders and develop long-term partnerships “We believe that art is something that unites us all,” said Kyle Block, co-founder of Global Coralition, “and has the power to spread an important message. We have to protect our oceans and our coral reefs.”

Angeline Chen, co-founder of the project said: “We are very grateful to everyone who has made this project what it is: our construction team, our cultural and scientific advisors, our ecological partners, our donors, volunteers, and the local community that has supported this project.”

Art, Science & Culture Unite to Preserve the Reef in Sosua Bay

Manuel Rodriguez, a Marine Ecologist and founder of Magua Ecological Foundation has been working to restore Sosúa Bay’s marine ecology since he was 15 when he first witnessed its decline. Building on the years of his work and his incredible knowledge of this local ecosystem, Global Coralition has joined forces in the restoration effort, along with the support of Sam Mercado a coral scientist. Bridging art and science, the sculptural installation Atabey will hold hundreds of coral transplants and micro-fragmented corals to aid coral reef restoration.

The world’s coral has decreased by 50% in the last 30 years and is estimated to lose 90% by 2050. Coral reefs support 25% of all marine life. They absorb 97% of wave and storm energy, protecting coastlines. They provide food, livelihood, and medicine to billions of people. Coral reefs are crucial for the survival and stability of all life on our planet.

Atabey Sosua Bay photo Alexis Pierret

More about Global Coralition

Global Coralition is an organization that unites art, science, and communities to accelerate coral reef regeneration worldwide. Through the creation of large-scale sculptures deployed into the ocean, the expansion into immersive underwater gardens for coral is formed.

The community is welcome in the mornings and near sunset to assist in the work of preparing the sculpture for a new home for coral and fish.  Follow @globalcoralition for more updates about ongoing efforts in the water and on land.

Coral reef restoration Dominican Republic

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