A 600-pound Cayman Blue Iguana statue has been donated to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park in North Side by two Wisconsin artists.
The larger-than-life concrete and rebar sculpture has been placed at the park’s entrance as a star attraction to welcome visitors.
Brother and sister duo David and Sher Quasius donated the sculpture after joining forces to build it during the last weeks of Mr. Quasius’s latest vacation on the island.
Last year, Mr. Quasius, a concrete sculptor from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, had an inspiration. Driving past the Botanic Park’s entrance gate for years, it occurred to him that the Botanic Park needed an entrance sculpture.
The Botanic Park, which opened in 1994, is home to the Blue Iguana Restoration Program. The Blues, brought back from the brink of extinction, are raised and housed on the grounds of the park, and are a major attraction.
Mr. Quasius suggested to his sister that they create a sculpture for the park.
“She came right down to help. It was 10 below zero in Wisconsin compared to 80 degrees here in Cayman. Sher was easily convinced,” he said.
If one looks closely at the sculpture, it is tagged “Blue Blue,” the identification code for a very famous blue iguana named Zarco. Zarco was a beautiful large male and a prolific breeder for the park’s iguana restoration program. Mr. Quasius encouraged Park Manager John Lawrus to sell the naming rights of the sculpture to raise money for the Park.
“On behalf of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and the Tourism Attraction Board, I would like to share my appreciation for the wonderful donation of the blue iguana sculpture,” said Mr. Lawrus.
“It is this kind of community spirit that demonstrates the goodwill in people today, as well as signifying the importance of the most important land animal that exists in the Cayman Islands, the blue iguana.” Mr. Lawrus said it has been a great experience working with the Quasius siblings.
“The prominent location on top of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park entrance sign along Frank Sound allows all visitors and residents alike to be able to see the incredible sculpture. “Special thanks should also be given to Nigel Torrance and his staff of N.L.T. for providing the trucking and staff for moving the sculpture, that weighs nearly 600 pounds,” he said.
Mr. Lawrus noted that it has been a “tough” 12 months for the blue iguanas.
“With losing many to wild, roaming dogs, and with continued development around the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, the threat of losing more blue iguanas continues to remain quite high,” he said.
“We hope the sculpture of the blue iguana helps to raise awareness of the importance of the blue iguana, the Blue Iguana Recovery Program, and the conservation of this endemic species, which can’t be found anywhere else on earth.”
The sculpture is just one of many sculptures Mr. Quasius has completed at his Davinoff’s Concrete Sculpture Garden attraction in North Side, which he established in 2010.
The front yard of his home on Old Robin Road has several sculptures capturing Cayman’s local wildlife. It is open to the public free of admission charge, and is also listed by TripAdvisor as one of the top attractions for North Side.
The artist uses beach items such as glass, shells and coral for his creations.
Coming from an artistic family, Mr. Quasius said he was exposed to concrete-making in Sheboygan through his family construction business, and began creating concrete sculptures for his personal enjoyment. His sister Sher is a professional artist living in Sheboygan, who at times also works in concrete.
Mr. Quasius places great attention to detail on the sculptures, which range from local chickens and agoutis to a large crab, an even larger octopus and a blue iguana. The garden also features a snake, stingray, eel, crocodile, drinking man, parrot, mahi mahi, flying fish, mermaid, scorpion and a tarpon with hook, line and sinker in its mouth.