British artist Jason deCaires Taylor has created a sculpture museum at the bottom of the Atlantic off the coast of Lanzarote, one of Spain's Canary Islands. Museo Atlantico is 14 metres under the surface of the water, so is accessible only to scuba divers and snorkelers.

Taylor told IBTimesUK he has created around 300 life-sized figures, cast from real people and grouped in several installations that draw attention to issues such as climate change, conservation and migration. The largest installation is entitled The Rubicon and it comprises a group of 40 people walking towards a gateway. The figures aren't paying attention to where they are going − some have their eyes closed, some are taking selfies, others are engrossed in their phones. Taylor says this work is about climate change and how mankind seems to be heading blindly towards a point of no return.

Jason deCaires Taylor
The Rubicon installation describes the march towards climate change in the underwater Museo Atlantico in Lanzarote, SpainJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
Some figures are lost to the moment through their camerasJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
Others are engrossed in their tabletsJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
A number of the figures walk on towards climate change with their eyes closedJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
The fine detail of the figures comes from casting them from real peopleJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
The installations had to lowered by divers onto the seabed on platformsJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
The Rubicon installation seen before the figures were submergedJason deCaires Taylor

Another piece, The Raft Of Lampedusa, depicts African men and women in a sunken dinghy on the seabed. The title of the piece is a reference to The Raft Of Medusa, a Théodore Géricault painting of people clinging to a makeshift raft after a French frigate ran aground off the coast of Mauritania in 1816. There were not enough lifeboats for everybody on board, so the captain and other dignitaries sailed off in them, leaving 147 people to board an unstable raft.

Conditions on the raft were horrific. Many people were washed out to sea, others were killed in bloody fights and some survivors engaged in cannibalism. When the raft was finally rescued after 13 days at sea, only 15 men were still alive. The case became an international scandal, with the deaths being blamed on an incompetent captain who had abandoned his responsibility.

Taylor says his Raft Of Lampedusa points to European governments' unwillingness to accept responsibility for the migrant and refugee crisis. The Canary Islands are the first port of call for thousands of people from west Africa trying to reach Europe. Some of the figures in Taylor's underwater dinghy were cast from people who had made this perilous journey.

Jason deCaires Taylor
The Raft Of Lampedusa is an installation in the underwater Museo Atlantico in Lanzarote, SpainJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
The Raft of Lampedusa depicts migrants on their perilous journey to EuropeJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
Some of the figures were cast from actual migrants who arrived at LampedusaJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
The installation depicts the precarious and overcrowded raft to which an entire family entrusted their livesJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
Casting one of the figures for the underwater installationJason deCaires Taylor

The artist is also working on an underwater botanical garden, filled with the island's natural flora – as well as human-cactus hybrids that suggest humanity and nature working together in perfect harmony. Over time, the garden will bloom in another way, as the local marine life colonises it.

Jason deCaires Taylor
A hybrid human cactus is part of an underwater botanical garden installation in Museo Atlantico, Lanzarote, SpainJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
Human botanical hybrid casts await their submergingJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
The golden volcanic rock backdrop of Lanzarote makes this plaster-cast hybrid cactus figure stand outJason deCaires Taylor

These sculptures are not just for humans – they serve as an artificial reef, encouraging greater biodiversity. This is not Taylor's first underwater sculpture park. He has created similar undersea museums in the Bahamas and Mexico. His plain grey cement figures are slowly being transformed as they are colonised by colourful coral, anemones and other forms of sea life.

Jason deCaires Taylor
Coral and anemones add their own artistry to Taylor's longer-established undersea installationsJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
The Viccisitudes undersea installation in Grenada, West IndiesJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
Marine life swim over the cast congretationJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
A starfish clothes a naked child figureJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
The artist himself couldn't have placed the marine inhabitants betterJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
Vivid-coloured marine encrustations invade Taylor's figureJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
A shock of red sea-life mark out a figure's eye socketJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
Swarms of fish have made Taylor's The Last Supper installation in Punta Nizuc, Mexico their home despite the bowl of grenadesJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
A female figure from Taylor's Night installationJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
Marine plants take root in Taylor's figuresJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
A head cast attracts an incredible coral displayJason deCaires Taylor
Jason deCaires Taylor
A sedentary figure reclining with a burger in Taylor's Inertia installation finds the television has been overtaken by coralJason deCaires Taylor

While the figures off the coast of Lanzarote won't become covered in coral, they will also change over the years as they become home to the local marine life. Museo Atlantico opens to the public on 25 February. Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will go towards local conservation projects.