A museum of underwater sculptures at the bottom of the Pagasitikos Gulf aims to “erect” the scientific team of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment Division of the University of Thessaly. Jason, Achilles, the Argonauts, Centaurs, will be on display to visitors who will dive in 15 to 20 meters below the sea to admire the works. This innovative research project “Reef Art» (project Art Reef).
As stated to the University, the coordinator of this ambitious project, Alexios Lolas, “this idea I think for many years when I had seen a submarine museum with sculptures by an artist who has made it to Mexico (Jason Decaires). It was something exciting and then I thought to happen in Greece. Together with the coordinator of the project, Professor Dimitris Vafidis, we wanted to go in the environmental and socio-economic impacts of a thematic artificial reef. The goal is to place in the sandy seabed that is desert, to create the right conditions, a substrate to grow microorganisms settle sponges, seaweed, starfish, can live and fish and create a biodiversity. With the reef art, as we call it, we seek to combine art with science, “says Mr. Lola and states that” we want to study whether a positive effect on the ecosystem, but also be able to study the effect it will have on local society with regard to development, tourism and more generally in the local economy and promote diving tourism in Greece as it is in its infancy, is almost nonexistent. ”
The 100 sculptures will be placed in a particular point of Pagasetic and is inspired by the mythology inherent in the Thessaly region, such as the Argonauts, Jason, the Centaur, and Achilles allegedly started from Volos the campaign for Troy. Indeed, the first consultations have already done Thessalians artists will sculpt statues in human dimensions. “The sculptures are not maintenance-free, as their material is made of cement, we will place them at the bottom and thereafter assumes the nature and continues the artist’s work, and will go up to settle algae, sponges, sea urchins, starfish. ; In twenty years will disappear the original form of the sculpture, it has changed, but it has left the idea, “adds Mr. Lola, who explains that the process of immersion is time consuming, requires synchronization and delicate. “If we can put 3-4 statues of the day we will be satisfied,” he says.
As the coordinator of the project “Reef Art” will create two different reefs, one of the scientific team for the studies and research at the University, while the second will be accessible to the public. The project aspires to be the first in the world which has been funded entirely by donations “because in this way we want people to feel involved, and those that contribute to this bold and innovative undertaking. Even with a minimum amount of 5 or 10 euro you give someone will be able to collect the amount of money needed to make it happen, “noted Mr. Lola. Money from donations go directly to a bank account of the Research Committee, which is the body responsible economic management of the University of Thessaly, while promoted as a crowdfunding campaign donations from abroad to genrosity.com platform.
As he noted. Lolas “in Turkey invest much in diving tourism. Recently, an Airbus plunged the coast opposite the island of Samos, in order to create a diving attraction and boost their tourism, tested last so many terrorist attacks. What we want to emerge from our research project is to collect all the necessary information so that the future can an organization do a corresponding action (to sink a ship, an airplane, a train) with all the scientific evidence, as base”.