Indonesia’s Living Reef

Famed underwater sculptor unveils his latest creation on an Indonesian reef


Jason deCaires Taylor first grabbed the attention of the art world when he created an underwater sculpture garden on a shallow coral reef near the island of Grenada. He has since gone on to create a number of iconic submerged exhibitions in the waters of Mexico, Spain, the Bahamas and England’s Thames River. His latest creation, known as NEST, will be his first work to reside in Indo-Pacific waters, near the island of Bali.

Basj Reef

A water-level view of the coral reefs surrounding Indonesia’s Gili Islands. These waters are considered to be among the most bio-diverse and pristine in the world. Photo: BASK

NEST is a circle of 48 life-size human figures set in an interconnecting ring on the sea floor. The work sits in 12 feet of clear water, a short distance from the island of Gili Meno, where it can be easily viewed by snorkelers. NEST is described by Taylor as a nucleus of protection and support, evoking the circle of life. The interlocking figures are situated upon the edge of the reef in a nutrient-rich current. It will offer a platform for soft corals, sponges and other filter feeding organisms to colonize and inhabit. Over time, as marine life takes hold, further layers of growth will accumulate, naturally creating a complex symbiotic artwork.

Nest Bali

The NEST sculpture is located just 40 yards from the shore of the BASK exclusive beach club. The formation is designed to attract corals and fish and create a living work of art. Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor

The NEST sculpture was commissioned by luxury resort developer BASK, which recently completed a collection of unique beach villas on Gili Meno, the most pristine of Indonesia’s Gili islands. BASK’s upscale villas are set between a sunset-showcasing beachfront and a natural salt lake, delivering water views from all rooms. The property’s award-winning contemporary design is intended to provide a relaxing personal retreat, while also respecting the local environment, customs and culture.

Baku Guku Nebi Uskabds

BASK’s 87 villas usher in water views, and provide a full range of contemporary comforts. The resort property also includes a five-star spa and a private beach club. Photo: BASK

Gili Meno is home to just 500 permanent residents, and is surrounded by pristine beaches and clear water. The island can be reached by boat or helicopter from Bali or Lombok Island. The Gili Islands are famed for their turtle population and are known as one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems.