Center for Galapagos Studies Sculptures

Arts Everywhere teamed up with the UNC Center for Galapagos Studies (CGS) to call for proposals for sculptures in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Center for Galapagos Studies. Four NC artists were selected to create a piece of human-sized art (4-7 feet) with recycled and sustainable materials that represent and celebrate the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. The installment of these sculptures began on Arts Everywhere Day on April 8, 2022 and these pieces of art can be found across UNC’s campus.

In addition to these four sculptures, Galápagan artist Isaac Delgado was commissioned to create a marine iguana sculpture outside the GSC research facility on San Cristóbal.

Learn more about the artists and the pieces below!

Blue-footed booby by David Hinkle (Coker Arboretum)

Blue-footed booby by David Hinkle
  • Title: Blue-footed Booby
  • Description: The blue-footed booby, carved from Western red cedar, is set in its nesting site on the Galápagos Islands. The blue-footed booby creates a nest on land that is defined by a circular-guano ring. My piece is made from salvaged materials, including wood, used whiskey barrels, and metal. The base incorporates both salvaged glass blocks, which are meant to symbolize the water, and salvaged cement blocks from Michael Brown’s Sea Turtles mural that stood for decades near the corner of Columbia and Rosemary Streets. In a nod to my love for native bees and bee hotels, two small native bee nesting sites sit on either side of the blue-footed booby.
  • Blue-footed booby location: In the Coker Arboretum on the path behind Spencer Residence Hall.
  • Learn more about David and his blue-footed booby.

Flightless Cormorant by Paul Estrada

In progress photo of Lupita by Paul Estrada

Galapagos tortoise by Nico Amortegui (Was outside of the Campus Y)

El Gran Gigante by Nico Amortegui
  • Title:  El Gran Gigante
  • Description: Galápagos Tortoise
  • Tortoise location: After being located in front of the Campus Y (Meantime Coffee entrance) between Gerrard Hall and South Building for several months it was moved to JimGin Farm in Pittsboro, which hosts sculpture shows and weekly live music.
  • Learn more about Nico and his Galápagos tortoise

Marine Iguana by Nyssa Collins and Carson Whitmore (located in front of Morehead Planetarium)

In progress photo of the marine iguana by Nyssa Collins and Carson Whitmore
  • Title: Marine Iguana (Foraged Matter)
  • Description: Unique to the Galapagos Archipelago, the marine iguana is the only species of lizard marine lizard in the world. Foraging for algae in sea water, the marine iguana is vulnerable to plastic pollution and microplastics that continue to pervade this fragile ecosystem. Our sculpture makes use of plastics to both emulate the marine iguana’s distinctive coloring and highlight the impact of the human footprint on the Galapagos Islands. 
  • Iguana location: find it in front of Morehead Planetarium in the grassy area between the Planetarium and Graham Memorial
  • Learn more about Nyssa and Carson and their marine iguana

Marine Iguana by Isaac Delgado (located at the Galapagos Science Center)

  • A fifth sculpture was created in the Galapagos by the talented local artist, Isaac Delgado
  • The artist seeks to reuse disposable materials: “We must use the bad reputation of materials and turn them into art; fuse it with our infrastructure to transform it.”
  • This marine iguana will be outside the Galapagos Science Center in Ecuador to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UNC Center for Galapagos Studies!


Read more about the project in UNC Research’s Endeavors article, On the Origin of Sculptures. Check out the Arts Everywhere Public Art Map to find the specific locations for the sculptures at UNC.