A skeleton of a massive sea serpent emerging from the waves along the shores of the Loire river near Nantes, France is truly an amazing sight for visitors. Conceptualised and created by Chinese-French contemporary artist Huang Yong Ping for the Estuaire 2012 contemporary art exhibition, the artwork titled ‘Serpent d’océan’ is a metal sculpture based on Chinese mythology.

Now permanently installed as part of the Estuaire Nantes<>Saint-Nazaire open air collection, the sculpture is one of 33 artworks created by famous artists, which are displayed along the 60km Nantes to Saint-Nazaire artistic trail. This unusual public art exhibition can be explored by bike, car or boat.

Located in the town of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins at the edge of the Loire estuary, where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean, the enormous sea-serpent – projecting a terrifying form – surges out of the sea with the rhythmic movement of the waves making it come alive. The spine of this prehistoric creature mimics the curve of the local Saint-Nazaire bridge to sit in harmony with its surroundings.

“By having a major figure from Chinese mythology appear on European shores, Huang Yong Ping examines the notions of identity and cultural hybridity, as is often the case in his work. The environmental question is also very present in his art where he regularly exposes the paradox of the man sawing the branch he is sitting on, torn between creative abilities and destructive impulses. This is one of the many possible interpretations of this work: placed on the beach, the skeleton appears with the tide and, little by little, will be home to marine fauna and flora,” Estuaire stated.

Images: Estuaire 2012 contemporary art exhibition