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Underwater art gallery to debut off southwest Florida coast

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The USS Mohawk, an historic WWII warship and artificial reef, to be transformed into underwater art gallery off of Sanibel Island on June 1, 2013 SANIBEL ISLAND, FL (May 31, 2013) – The USS Mohawk CGC, a 165-foot World War II warship that is now a living reef thriving with exotic marine life – will be transformed into an underwater art gallery on June 1, 2013.

Celebrated photographer Andreas Franke of Austria is leading a team 28 nautical miles off the coast of Sanibel Island, near Fort Myers, to install 12 images that will become a gallery within the ship’s inner spaces and remain on display through Sept. 14, 2013.

For this project, Franke exhaustively researched the history of the Mohawk, which launched 14 attacks against German U-boats and rescued 300 torpedoed ship survivors. Based on his research, he will envision the life of sailors past aboard the Mohawk – their daily lives and dreams of home — and will superimpose images of models in period clothing onto original photography.

Each image measures roughly 2.5 by 3.5 feet and will be encased in steel-framed Plexiglas. During their time at sea, the photos will evolve with accumulation of marine life, which will give them a seaworthy patina and life of their own.

For divers, the artwork will come into stunning view, as the destination is in the midst of its peak dive season. In the clear waters, divers will enjoy 50-70 feet of visibility, perfect for viewing the ethereal images.

“This is a very exciting time for The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, said Tamara Pigott, executive director, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. Nearly a year ago, the USS Mohawk CGC became our newest artificial reef and has since attracted exotic marine life, including numerous whale sharks. Now for three and a half months, divers will be able to view artwork on the Mohawk.”

At the end of their underwater exhibition, “The Sinking World” images will rise to the surface for display at the Lee County Alliance for the Arts galleries in Fort Myers on Oct. 4, 2013, which marks the opening night and cocktail reception. The images will remain on display until Oct. 26, 2013.