Reef shark circles in on sculpture garden

Tourist Giuseppe Rossi tries to 'swim' away in an inner tube from a reef shark at artist David Quasius's Davinoff's Concrete Sculpture Garden. -Photo: Jewel Levy

You do not usually expect to find a reef shark in a garden, but that is exactly what visitors artist David Quasius’s Davinoff’s Concrete Sculpture Garden in North Side find when they enter.

The 8-foot concrete shark weighs a hefty 750 pounds. The inner tube prop, just out of harm’s way from the shark’s teeth, is also made from concrete and rebar. The items are among the newest additions to the many concrete creatures in the garden.

“It’s an interesting piece for children to sit and pretend they are swimming away from the shark, for parents to take pictures,” said Mr. Quasius as he enjoyed the comforts of the Old Man Bay garden on his second day of vacation from Wisconsin last week, along with his wife Kathy.

He said the sculpture tells a story about Cayman and some of the creatures that are in the water and on the land.

“I already have a stingray, an octopus, turtle, starfish and mermaid … I thought a shark would be the perfect thing to add to that,” he said.

Mr. Quasius was also excited about the international attention the garden has received recently.

This year, an article in National Geographic about Cayman listed the concrete park as one of the island’s top attractions. The HGTV series “Caribbean Life” also had a segment on Cayman that included a child visiting the park.

“It’s cool stuff,” he said.

“Normally, when I come down in November, I figure out where I will put my next piece. I put the slab and rebar in, let that sit and when I come back in January to February, I have seven to eight weeks to complete the sculpture,” he explained.

A pair of large Cayman parrots, the national bird, will be his project this year, he said. “Their constant squawking in the almond trees had me thinking about doing a sculpture for several years now,” he said.

“I’ve got a pretty good idea about how I want it … It’s going to be the same kind of thing with rebar and mesh. The parrots will be sitting on a branch in the almond tree. One will be leaning down, getting an almond in its beak, and the other one will be sitting up in the branches holding an almond in its feet that’s half eaten.”

David Quasius poses with one of his concrete sculptures.

He said it fits right into his theme of having all supersized animals in the park.

For now, he’s busy trimming back trees, clearing the area and working on a smaller attraction, which is a “hermit crab shell exchange station,” he said.

He puts the empty hermit crab shell in a stone area and the crabs come out to exchange their shells. To keep track of the hermit crabs, Mr. Quaisus paints the tips of each shell in various colors.

“It’s amazing that a year or two later, I will find a crab that has come in and exchanged a blue one for a red one. It’s fun, and I really don’t lose any shells,” said Mr. Quasius with a laugh.

Davinoff’s brain coral has also been added to the park in recent times, along with a reef shark circling four snorklers.

Davinoff’s Concrete Sculpture Park is located in North Side on Old Robin Road, which turns into the Queen’s Highway, in an area that longtime residents call “Beyond.”

Mr. Quasius is a retired contractor and former accountant who wanted to find something constructive to do to keep himself busy during his visits to the island. He created the concrete garden in 2010, and has been adding to it ever since it turned into a popular local and tourist attraction.