Sculpture greets visitors to Turtle Farm

| 20/07/2016
CNS Local Life

Artist Joseph Betty with his sculpture, “The Homecoming”

(CNS): Artist Joseph Betty, who also works as a tour guide and bus driver, has completed a specially commissioned sculpture that adorns the entrance to the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF). In April this year, the CTF approached him to create a centrepiece sculpture of three turtles swimming through coral. The sculpture provides a visual focal point at the front of the facility, with visitors, especially children, having their photos taken by the piece.

Betty is the first person that CTF has commissioned to create a sculpture, and it is his biggest project so far. It was built in a shed, on CTF land, which he has been using as an artist’s studio.

“The whole sculpture weighs more than 5,000 pounds,” Betty said. “It is made out of concrete with a framework of steel bars and galvanised mesh. The idea was to make it as strong and sturdy as possible. We transported into its place by a truck and the ‘turtle handler’ (a special piece of equipment for lifting large turtles).

“The Turtle Farm ‘family’ helped me to set it in place. I couldn’t have finished it in such a short time without Mr Carley Jackson, who helped to lacquer the turtles, and Mr Keeble Knight, who contributed to the technical aspects of the structure’s form, to make sure it wouldn’t collapse.”

The artist explained that the piece, called “The Homecoming”, depicts a “family” of turtles from the Turtle Farm who meets in the ocean and decides to return to Cayman to make it their home.

Betty said his initial idea for the sculpture was well received, with CTF managing director Tim Adam suggesting the turtles should be swimming through elkhorn coral, because this kind of coral, and the turtles, have been going since the age of the dinosaurs,” he said.

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