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WATCH: 'Blank canvas' tortoises begin to take over Jersey

WATCH: 'Blank canvas' tortoises begin to take over Jersey

Thursday 09 February 2023

WATCH: 'Blank canvas' tortoises begin to take over Jersey

Thursday 09 February 2023


The tortoise sculptures which will form part of this summer's hotly anticipated Tortoise Takeover sculpture trail have arrived in Jersey.

The fibreglass sculptures arrived as blank canvases ahead of being brought to life by a mixture of local and UK artists, as well as schools and community groups.

Once complete, they will take over Jersey's wild places, coastal vistas and urban hangouts as ambassadors for all the work that Durrell undertakes with reptiles across the globe. 

The trail - for which Express is official media partner - will be made up of 50 large tortoises that were commissioned following a ‘shell-ection’ event with sponsors and 65 smaller sculptures that will be designed and decorated by local schools and community groups.

The Durrell team have worked in partnership with Wild in Art, to create this sculpture, which is exclusive to Jersey and has not been used at any other trails.

The first 'young tortoise' sculptures will go on display in shop windows from 16 June, with the large sculptures set to take over the island from the 1 July. 

The key dates for the trail include:

  • 16 June – 31 August: Young tortoise trail goes live

  • 1 July – 31 August: Tortoise Takeover trail goes live

  • 14 – 17 September: Tortoise Takeover farewell weekend

  • 21 September: Tortoise Takeover auction

Will Bertram, Artist Co-ordinator for Tortoise Takeover, said: “This is an incredibly exciting and significant week for Tortoise Takeover, with the sculptures arriving on Island for the first time.

"They have not been used in a trail before, so we have a real exclusive here in Jersey and it makes it even more special to see them all together in the same room! We are incredibly grateful to everyone that has supported the trail so far, which includes our 50 sponsors, as well as those that have helped us behind the scenes with painting spaces and logistics.

"We can’t wait to see the designs coming to life over the next few months, ahead of the trail launching in July.” 

Painting is due to start for the sculptures at the end of February and after the trail, all giant sculptures will be auctioned.

The auction proceeds will go towards building a new Tropical House at Jersey Zoo, as the current amphibian and reptile house is in urgent need of updating. 

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