Less than two kilometres off the Algarve coast of Albufeira, an exciting new underwater art exhibition has been unveiled. The ‘EDP Art Reef’ project is the first of its kind in the country and was created by famous Portuguese graffiti and street artist Alexandre Farto, also known as Vhils.
Divers will be able to explore an underwater museum at a depth of more than ten metres, featuring 13 sculptures made from old parts of decommissioned power stations. To create the contemporary project, Vhils used materials collected from decommissioned parts of coal or fuel power stations owned by EDP. The thirteen pieces (made of iron and concrete) stand in an exhibition area of 1,250 square metres, about 12 metres under water and a mile from the coast, with the tallest piece measuring 5.3 metres.
Commenting on the unique exhibition, Vhils said: “I tried to find different stories of our relationship as humans with the sea, a story of subsistence, confrontation, tension, but also tried to find different points where our history intersects with the sea.”
This was his “most complex and challenging work, not only because it involved a large team of people, but also because it was done at the bottom of the sea”, a place of constant movement. His “concern” was to see how the pieces would evolve over time.
The underwater exhibition, which has a positive impact on the marine ecosystem, also makes a positive contribution to the Algarve’s sustainability and commitment to decarbonising the country. The project also contributes to the Algarve’s circular economy, as all the pieces used previously served an important purpose in Portugal’s energy history and are now given a new life – first through Vhils’ intervention and now in contact with marine life.
In 2008, Vhils got his big break when he was invited by Banksy – one of the most famous names in the world of street art – to participate in his exhibition “The Cans Festival” in London.
The “Art Reef by Vhils” exhibition is marked by a buoy (coordinates: N 37.06922391, W -8.20990784) and can be visited by any diver, provided they are accompanied by a technician and have insurance and a liability waiver to be signed with the companies involved in the project. Divers can also book trips to the underwater gallery with a total of 19 tour operators in the region, including Dreamwave and X Ride Algarve.
This unique exhibition can be enjoyed until the end of the year.