I'm exceedingly excited by BREEF's newest project: the Nicholas Nuttall Undersea Sculpture Garden. It's the first project of its kind in the Bahamas to be sponsored by the UN.
This is the brain child of Bahamian artist, Willicey Tynes who won BREEF's first art competition and went on to become a professional artist in Minnesota.
My late husband believed strongly that art was the one of the surest ways to fire a child's imagination about the sea. After that, the rest came easily. He was right!
Unbeknownst to me, he had encouraged Willicey to to follow his passion (art wasn't his parent's idea of the perfect profession) and almost 20 years later he wanted to find a way to say 'thank you'.
BREEF has had the great good fortune to have the renowned undersea sculptor, Jason de Caires Taylor create a Bahamian Atlas. His aim is to bring home to us the burden and the vital role that young people will have in helping to care for and protect our fragile coral reefs. The site for the Undersea Sculpture Garden was shown to him by Nicholas about 15 years ago (again, unbeknownst to me) and confirmed by the BREEF team and the artists with a view to taking some of the pressure off nearby reefs that are in danger of being compromised by frequent diver visits).
Willicey and Bahamian sculptor, Andret John will also contribute works for the garden, as will the award-winning environmental foundation, Reef Balls.
BREEF is also collaborating with the Nature Conservancy which has a coral nursery. Coral 'seedlings' will be implanted on some of the sculptures that will be monitored as they grow, so this will be a melding of art, science, education, and environmental protection.
This is a dynamic project that will evolve over time - part of the reason that it's so exciting .
Larry Biggs (Reef Ball foundation); Andret John (Sculptor), Casuarina Lambert-McKinney (Director of BREEF); Willicey Tynes (Artist); Eugenie Nuttall (co-chair BREEF), Jason deCaires Taylor (sculptor), Kathy Kirbo (Reef Ball Foundation); Michelle Cove (Stuart Cove)