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MOUA to install ‘Ocean Sentinels’ underwater exhibition at John Brewer Reef

Pictured above: Sculptor of Dr. Katarina Fabricus by Jason deCaires Taylor.

The Museum of Underwater Art, (MOUA) is set to install it’s Ocean Sentinel sculpture artworks at John Brewer Reef in early May 2023, ready for the approaching tourist season, after receiving its permit approval from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

Sculptors of two Magnetic Island residents Dr. Katarina Fabrius & Dr. Rick Braley will become part of the installation.

The eight Ocean Sentinel sculptures by internationally renowned and leading underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, will form a snorkel trail for visitors to MOUA's current underwater installation, the ‘Coral Greenhouse’, at John Brewer Reef. The snorkel trail will expand the experience on sight for visitors and will highlight reef conservation, marine science and education within the Great Barrier Reef.

Dr. Katarina Fabricus at work on the Reef

The Ocean Sentinel sculptures are modelled from notable local and international marine scientists, conservationists, and traditional owners, who have contributed and dedicated their life to the Great Barrier Reef to reflect them as being protectors of the Reef.

Pictured above: Sculptor Dr. Rick Braley by Jason deCaires Taylor.

Dr. Rick Braley.

MOUA will welcome to Townsville, Jason deCaires Taylor, Dr David Vaughan, and other muse featured as the Ocean Sentinels for a series of official launch events in early May 2023.

Each sculpture is standing 2.2 meters tall and will be in around 5 metres of water. Each sculpture weighs in at 2.8 tonne, and is crafted from a new high grade, low carbon earth friendly concrete and reinforced marine stainless steel. The installation process will be handled by local Townsville business, Pacific Marine Group, local engineers and contractors.

Chair of the MOUA Board, Paul Victory, says,

“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to the marine science story through what is predicated to be a highly sought after snorkelling and diving experience at John Brewer Reef. The current installation, Coral Greenhouse is already on Australia’s must do experience list and this new snorkelling experience will open new opportunities for visitors to Townsville and increase their knowledge of the science that has contributed to the incredible Great Barrier Reef.”

Before moving to its underwater habitat, the Ocean Sentinels were displayed at the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville as a prominent above ground exhibit where more than 35,000 people attended sculptures.

Deputy Chair of MOUA and renown marine scientist, Dr Adam Smith said;

‘MOUA’s exhibition is attracting global science interest and is opening new scientific opportunities. Our monitoring program and reef restoration activities are providing results that indicate strong aggregation of a diverse range of fish and coral species on site. The opportunity to work with the Sentinel muse on the site and the science, is very exciting’

The Ocean Sentinel installation is MOUA’s third art project installation within the Townsville region, and has been funded and supported by corporate, government and philanthropic funding, with the Queensland Government being the major partner.

Following consultation with community groups and traditional owners of Magnetic Island and Palm Island, MOUA will not be installing artworks at these locations during this installation.

MOUA is continuing to seek opportunities for its duplicate concrete sculptures and the incredible bronze sculptures currently on exhibition at Townsville airport.

MOUA was created to inspire people throughout the world to visit the Townsville underwater sculpture site and to broaden the conversation about reef conservation. The works bring into focus diverse fields of study including traditional owner practises in marine parks, marine science, coral gardening, underwater and environmental art, educational tourism and architecture. It provides a starting point and new perspective for an understanding of the Great Barrier Reef and its ecology. MOUA is the only underwater art museum in the Southern Hemisphere.

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