Maldives: Underwater art gallery destroyed for being ‘anti-Islamic’

5 October 2018
An underwater art gallery in the Maldives was partially destroyed after a court ruled the human sculptures were anti-Islamic ‘idols’.
The Sculpture Coralarium / Jason Taylor YouTube


The sun has set for last time on the semi-submerged art gallery Coralarium, which was partially destroyed on 21 September after a court in the Maldives ruled the work’s human-like sculptures were anti-Islamic idols, reported The Guardian.

The court ruled the artwork was a threat to “Islamic unity and the peace and interests of the Maldivian state”.

Artist and environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor said he was “extremely shocked and heartbroken” to learn his work had been destroyed a mere two months after it opened off the coast of the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort.

“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,” he said on Instagram.

Visitors equipped with snorkels could explore the artwork’s steel frame structure that housed about 30 sculptures above and below water.

According to Global Construction Review, “The Tourism Ministry said the Coralarium was built in contravention of the permission given to the resort, and the court ruled that it posed a threat to ‘Islamic unity and the peace and interests of the Maldivian state’ and that its removal was necessary to ‘protect the five tenets of Islamic shariah’.”

The resort was given a deadline to remove the figures or the police would remove them. The Maldives Police shared images of the sculptures being removed with a pickaxe, hammer and saw.

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