These People Are Stuck Underwater Forever!?

Photograph taken by artist Jason deCaires Taylor (2006)

Photograph taken by artist Jason deCaires Taylor (2006)



The circle of statues in the picture represents solidarity. The circle is reminiscent of the circle of life – they are all connected to one another. Human beings would normally be suffocating under water, but this picture depicts a circle of human statues resting upon the ocean floor depicting togetherness, strength, and fear.


The visual construction of this image is with the eye drawn to the center, where the circle of people is symmetrically placed. The lighting helps this too – it is darker around the statues, highlighting the figures placed in the deep sea. The light brightens their arms and body but shadows their faces. This exemplifies the strength they have physically, but the uncertainty lies deep in their thoughts.


When looking at one statue’s face individually, it is clear that the person is afraid and unsure. But when looking at the picture as a whole, a strong and singular figure is shown. The figures hold hands to illustrate solidarity and togetherness while they face the terrors of the ocean. Holding hands with a group of people creates emotional connection and is authentic. The togetherness is also illustrated through the diversity within the circle. Both physical and racial, the statues represent different backgrounds from around the world. There are also both men and women represented in the photo; men and women alternate every other person.


The water is oppressing them, yet they still stand strong. The statues are under pressure, both figuratively from an outside opposing force and literally – the pressure on ocean floor. The trust among these people is evident because they are able to turn their backs to each other and face the outside world. When they hold hands, they are using their strength of one unit to face the opposition. They turn their heads into each other to gain support from their peers. Looking closely, each pair of a man and a woman are looking towards each other, illustrating strong connections intertwined in a large congregation.


Cement is an ideal foundation for coral and algae colonization. Coral reefs represent starting new life – many coral reefs are dying so it is important to preserve and begin new ones. The point of placing these cement statues underwater is that sediments and organisms will rest upon them and create a new physical appearance. Over time organisms such as coral or algae will colonize and eventually deform the statues. These deformations parallel the natural transformations humans have to accommodate for geological changes.
The color of the cement is similar to that of the sand, depicting the relationship the people have with the ocean floor. The statues feet are also buried in the sand; they are stuck forever in this moment of fear and strength. They also represent the connection of aquatic life and life above the surface.


Obviously, humans cannot breathe underwater, so the people serve as statues of death, stuck in the eternal life of the deep sea. Their figures live on, however, revealing their moment of crisis in a mysterious, aquatic setting. The faces are afraid, but they are united with one another. The firm connection of hand holding exemplifies the strength represented by the circle of people.


Taylor, Jason. “Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park.” Wikipedia. 2006. Web. 1 Oct, 2013. <>

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One comment

  1. I liked the analysis of the picture! You did good with telling where the viewer would pay attention and showing understanding why they would pay attention their. The only thing that was not so good was the format, it was kind of hard to follow, and I kind of struggled through and got a bit bored, so if you format it a bit differently to keep me in the loop. I suggest using stuff like italics, bolds, and hyperlinks that will make the reading less tedious for the reader.

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