After the successful sinking of my first reef sculpture “The Colony” in Chalok Baan Kao I was really looking forward to beginning work on my next project. After a few experimental pieces, I began work on a more ambitious project to cast a series of sculptures trying to evoke that sense of despair we feel when confronted with the widespread degradation of our marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

As the corals planted on these sculptures begin to thrive, they will slowly encrust over these images of despair with life and hope, until they inevitably disappear, having fulfilled their purpose. The sculptures were located near my original piece “The Colony” to continue the expansion of the site and to attract more divers off of the natural reef to relieve it from the pressures posed by diving.

My name’s Spencer Arnold and I work as a reef conservation instructor in Thailand with the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program. If you’re interested in the concept, here is an article providing further context: http://www.newheavendiveschool.com/conservation-projects/drowning-despair/

More info: newheavendiveschool.com

Reaching for the surface

Maurizio, a reef conservationist petrified in concrete.

Sinking the Heavy Sculptures

Always the tensest part of this process is the deployment of these heavy sculptures. Here, the surf crests over the barge and sculpture as we prepare to lower it.

Last Breath

Rich, an incredible friend and supporter of this work immortalized underwater.

The Original Concept

An illustration of the Sculptures of Despair.