The first piece, a replica of the Christ of the Deep, was on display on the Carenage since its official blessing there on the October 22 during a ceremony attended by numerous officials including the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, and Culture, Peter David.
The Christ of the Deep replica was commissioned by the Grenada Board of Tourism to commemorate not only the 50th anniversary of the sinking of the Bianca C but also the hospitality, selflessness, and “Spice Isle” spirit shown by the Grenadian people in the rescue of over 670 passengers and crew of the Bianca C.
“It is a fantastic addition to the park,” said Howard Clarke, Chairman of GUSMI, “and we are extremely grateful to the Grenada Board of Tourism for their enthusiastic support and endorsement of the regeneration project. As the statue looks up to the surface of the water with arms outstretched it is a wonderful new piece of living art for both our diving and snorkeling visitors.”
The second sculpture, “Sienna,” is based on a character from the short story, “A Different Ocean,” written by local author Jacob Ross. Sienna is a young girl gifted in free diving. The story follows friendship and betrayal as her talent is exploited in the search for lost treasure. She was sponsored by local Powerboat Tour Company Grenada Seafaris who runs eco-tours and snorkeling trips to the park. This was one of the original pieces which was, unfortunately, damaged by corrosion and sea conditions. Owner of Grenada Seafaris, Howard Clarke, said: “It is a culturally important piece, which we are very pleased to be able to sponsor. The new statue is designed to be much more robust than the previous one and should last considerably longer.”
The latest additions to the park are part of a regeneration plan initiated by GUSMI and funded by both the private and public sectors, which is designed to regenerate and continue the development of the Underwater Sculpture Park. Both statues were created by talented local artist, Troy Lewis, under the guidance and instruction of the Management Group.
On a day when there were no ships in port, the cruise liner dock was nevertheless a hive of activity during the morning of Thursday, November 17 as the group and a number of supporters gathered to start the process of moving the statues to their final locations within the park. The statues were first placed in the water by a crane and were then floated out to the site using heavy-duty lifting bags. The operation to float the statues was managed by Underwater Solutions Ltd., a Camper Nicholson Port Louis-based company who specializes in underwater work. Grenada Seafaris Ltd. and Eco Dive&Trek provided staff and support boats ably assisted by the Royal Grenada Coast Guard who offered their support by providing a patrol vessel to tow one of the statues out to the site.
Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park Management Group Chairman, Howard Clarke, said: “The Underwater Park has become a large and important part of our tourism product. It is the world’s first such attraction and it is important that we maintain and continue to improve the park. The tourism sector has seen the benefits of having this attraction both in terms of the number of cruise liner visitors and hotel guests. The site continues to generate international coverage and is one of the attractions regularly requested by visiting press. To have a unique attraction is immensely important, and visitors and residents alike enjoy the underwater art.”
As the regeneration plan continues, more sponsors are being approached for the largest piece in the project, which is the replacement of the iconic circle of children which consists of 26 children holding hands. Fund raising for this piece is on-going, and it is hoped that the project will be completed during 2012.