Updated: Aug 12
In the Manchones Gallery of MUSA, Isla Mujeres, divers and snorkelers alike are greeted by six men with their backsides poking up in the air, their heads hidden in the sand, and their briefcases beside them. What is the story behind these statues?
Jason deCaire Taylor laid these statues on the ocean floor in the second expansion of MUSA in 2012. These figures can be seen clearly while snorkelling, being at a depth of 9 mt/ 30 ft, but they are best appreciated while diving.
They have been laid in their final resting place close to the Silent Evolution and are a favourite amongst divers. Their heads are in the sand. The central three figures have briefcases beside them, close to their arms. Two of the cases have cell phones lying on top. Look between their legs, and you often see a king crab or other life forms looking back at you.
To the East of Biomap, there exists a sole banker who is one of the first statues placed. This one was laid separately because of the difference in the timing of submerging the statues. It is perhaps the least known and least visited of all MUSA statues.
According to Jason deCaire Taylor,
"The bankers symbolise how little we look to the future and how we are focused on short-term gain. Each sculpture is in a prayer position to show that monetary items have replaced his god. Each Banker has a cavity between his buttocks for marine life to inhabit. Crustaceans and eels make this space their home."(1)
As he quotes in his book
"The bankers symbolize denial, a resistance to acknowledge our looming environmental crisis, and the short-sighted actions of banking and government institutions. The identical positioning of the figures in a prayer-like pose aims to highlight a shift in values - the replacement of idealism with a misplaced emphasis on monetary remuneration. The buttocks support an internal living space for crustaceans and juvenile fish to breed and inhabit" (2)
These statues were previously called "The Politicians", and they were in this position with their heads in the sand and their briefcases full of money placed to the side because of their refusal to see and admit to climate change.
All explanations give the statues a powerful political and environmental statement.
9 meters / 30 feet
Entry Level, Beginners, and all levels of certified divers
Average Visibility Underwater
20-30 mt / 66-99 feet
Average Water Temp
28 C°/ 82F°
M.U.S.A. Museo Subacuático de Arte. (2022, April 25). Underwater Sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor. https://www.underwatersculpture.com/projects/musa-mexico/
The Underwater Museum, The submerged sculptures of Jason deCaires Taylor, Chronicle Books 2014