Divers gathered yesterday to prevent a boat chartered by the Cabildo from removing statues located in the Atlantic Museum, the underwater artwork created by artist Jason de Caires Taylor. It is now being reported that statues were removed under cover of darkness last night.
The Cabildo has claimed that the boat was hired to carry out “maintenance work”, without going into more detail. Divers, however, challenge the necessity for any such work, claiming that it would disturb the natural process that is turning the statues into a reef.
There have also been rumours that four statues in particular are targeted by the Cabildo. These are modeled on Ignacio Calatayud, a lawyer and close associate of the previous Cabildo President Pedro San Ginés. Both men are currently under investigation for corruption.
The Atlantic Museum was removed from the official list of Cultural, Artistic and Tourist Centres (CACTs) in 2020 on the grounds that it was making substantial losses. However, it has remained a popular excursion with many dive clubs.
It’s not the first controversy involving the works of De Caires. His statues of four horses, which were installed at the foot of the Castillo de San José in Arrecife, were also removed in 2019. The Cabildo’s justification for their removal was that they “did not reflect the values of César Manrique”.
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