British artist’s unique ‘tidal’ art gallery at Maldives resort is destroyed

7 min


0

Police armed with pickaxes and power tools have destroyed the world’s first tidal gallery at a holiday resort in the Maldives after it was deemed ‘offensive to Islam’.

The gallery at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi that opened in July featured semi-submerged exhibits that disappeared and reappeared as the tide went in and out.

But Abdulla Yameen, the outgoing president of the tourist nation, ordered the sculptures to be demolished.

 The world's first tidal gallery, which had opened at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort in the Indian Ocean

 The world's first tidal gallery, which had opened at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort in the Indian Ocean

 The world’s first tidal gallery, which had opened at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort in the Indian Ocean

Last Friday, police were ordered to destroy the sculpture after outgoing Maldives president Abdulla Yameen ruled it was offensive to Islam 

Last Friday, police were ordered to destroy the sculpture after outgoing Maldives president Abdulla Yameen ruled it was offensive to Islam 

Last Friday, police were ordered to destroy the sculpture after outgoing Maldives president Abdulla Yameen ruled it was offensive to Islam 

One policeman uses a saw to remove one of the figures from the top of the sculpture

One policeman uses a saw to remove one of the figures from the top of the sculpture

Two men forcibly removing the figure

Two men forcibly removing the figure

One policeman uses a saw to remove one of the figures from the top of the sculpture, left. Pictured right, two men forcibly removing the figure 

He made the order in July, but his ruling was not acted upon until last Friday, the eve of a presidential election, which he lost to a liberal candidate.

The artwork, known as the Coralarium, was designed by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor.

Resort guests could swim from the shore to the an underwater realm of human-shaped figures.

It was claimed the gallery structure would act as a sheltered space that offers a permanent sanctuary for ocean life such as fish, crustaceans, octopuses and marine invertebrates.

It was claimed the gallery structure would act as a sheltered space that offers a permanent sanctuary for ocean life such as fish, crustaceans, octopuses and marine invertebrates 

It was claimed the gallery structure would act as a sheltered space that offers a permanent sanctuary for ocean life such as fish, crustaceans, octopuses and marine invertebrates 

It was claimed the gallery structure would act as a sheltered space that offers a permanent sanctuary for ocean life such as fish, crustaceans, octopuses and marine invertebrates 

The semi-submerged cube, pictured, was known as the Coralarium. It was designed by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor

The semi-submerged cube, pictured, was known as the Coralarium. It was designed by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor

The semi-submerged cube, pictured, was known as the Coralarium. It was designed by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor

It is unclear why the sculptures were not raised from the waters until Friday, just two days before Yameen was turfed out of office 

It is unclear why the sculptures were not raised from the waters until Friday, just two days before Yameen was turfed out of office 

It is unclear why the sculptures were not raised from the waters until Friday, just two days before Yameen was turfed out of office 

Yameen said in July that there had been 'significant public sentiment' against the artwork

Yameen said in July that there had been 'significant public sentiment' against the artwork

A snorkeller explores the tidal gallery


A snorkeller explores the tidal gallery

Yameen said in July that there had been ‘significant public sentiment’ against the artwork. Pictured right, a snorkeller explores the tidal gallery

While in the evening, an integrated light system illuminated the gallery and attracted marine life while creating an impressive sight from the island shore.

However, Yameen said in July that ‘significant public sentiment’ against the artwork known as ‘Coralarium’ had guided his decision to destroy it.

It is unclear why the sculptures were not raised from the waters until Friday, just two days before Yameen was turfed out of office.

Artist Mr deCaires Taylor told AFP in a statement: 'I was extremely shocked and heartbroken to learn that my sculptures have been destroyed by the Maldivian authorities at the Coralarium, despite continued consultations and dialogue'

Artist Mr deCaires Taylor told AFP in a statement: 'I was extremely shocked and heartbroken to learn that my sculptures have been destroyed by the Maldivian authorities at the Coralarium, despite continued consultations and dialogue'

A tourist inspects one of the statues

A tourist inspects one of the statues

Artist Mr deCaires Taylor told AFP in a statement: ‘I was extremely shocked and heartbroken to learn that my sculptures have been destroyed by the Maldivian authorities at the Coralarium, despite continued consultations and dialogue’ 

The import of statues is prohibited in the Maldives. Even depictions of the Buddha are banned despite a long legacy of Buddhism on the islands before Islam came to dominate the archipelago

The import of statues is prohibited in the Maldives. Even depictions of the Buddha are banned despite a long legacy of Buddhism on the islands before Islam came to dominate the archipelago

The import of statues is prohibited in the Maldives. Even depictions of the Buddha are banned despite a long legacy of Buddhism on the islands before Islam came to dominate the archipelago

Yameen, pictured, who ordered the destruction of the art

Yameen, pictured, who ordered the destruction of the art

Yameen, pictured, who ordered the destruction of the art

Police were photographed chipping away at the works with pickaxes and using power tools to remove them from the large and ornate cage housing them.

A video posted by state media showed several men tearing a statue off a plinth.

Artist Mr deCaires Taylor told AFP in a statement: ‘I was extremely shocked and heartbroken to learn that my sculptures have been destroyed by the Maldivian authorities at the Coralarium, despite continued consultations and dialogue.

‘The Coralarium was conceived to connect humans to the environment and a nurturing space for marine life to thrive. Nothing else!

‘The Maldives is still beautiful, with a warm and friendly population, but it was a sad day for art and sad day for the environment.’

The import of statues is prohibited in the Maldives. Even depictions of the Buddha are banned despite a long legacy of Buddhism on the islands before Islam came to dominate the archipelago.

Despite the edict, huge cutouts of Yameen towered over the capital Male in the lead-up to Sunday’s poll, which he lost after five years of strongman rule marked by a regression from democracy.

Many of these cardboard posters depicting the ousted leader were torn down after he suffered a shock defeat to opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, an act of defiance unthinkable under his iron-fisted leadership.

MailOnline Travel has contacted the hotel for comment.

Let it all sink in: The art gallery was a short distance from the hotel's infinity pool (pictured)

Let it all sink in: The art gallery was a short distance from the hotel's infinity pool (pictured)

Let it all sink in: The art gallery was a short distance from the hotel’s infinity pool (pictured)

The Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is an all-villa resort on a pristine atoll. Its name translates into English as Secret Water Island

The Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is an all-villa resort on a pristine atoll. Its name translates into English as Secret Water Island

The Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is an all-villa resort on a pristine atoll. Its name translates into English as Secret Water Island


Like it? Share with your friends!

0
DownTheWing

Legend

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format