Hayden Fowler: Turtle Island

Sep 2, 2023 to Jun 25, 2024

Image: Courtesy of James Farley


An eco-art floating island ‘Turtle Island’ installed in Wagga Wagga’s sacred Wollundry Lagoon, created by environmental artist Hayden Fowler. The work acts as a focal point for conversations on how the environment can be supported to rewild.

Turtle Island was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, which supports the arts in regional and remote Australia.

Turtle Island was featured within Wagga Wagga Art Gallery’s 12 month of programming focusing on the environment and the climate crisis in 2023.  The work takes the gallery’s work beyond the walls and into a community space. This contemporary work highlights eco-art as a form of creative practice and demonstrates how artists are engaging in important discussions about our environment.

An important role of regional cultural institutions is to offer platforms to engage the community and artists in critical discussion of important issues.

Creative projects can offer a ‘safe space’ for difficult discussions.  Turtle Island simultaneously offers entry points to conversations through a focus on the animals and plants that interact with the island, the engineering of a floating island and the sculptural qualities.

The work is a highly public demonstration of creative practice interacting with nature.

This floating sculptural installation creates a sanctuary and new habitat for native wetland birds, turtle, fish.  The surface is planted with native wetland species.

This large-scale floating sculpture is an intersection of aesthetics, environmental repair, citizen science and community use.  With places for birds to perch, turtles to sun themselves and for plants to flourish, the work will evolve and change every day.  Moving with the wind and the rhythm of the water flow, Turtle Island is a mesmerising kinetic sculpture.

The growth of the installed floating eco-island connects the artwork directly with the changing climate, and the impact on growth and on the ways the fauna engages with the space.  This work gives over control to nature, giving space for the unexpected to happen.

As this eco-art is reclaimed by nature the sculpture will evolve to become a part of the lagoon’s waterscape.

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Turtle Island was originally installed in the eastern end of Wollundry Lagoon - September  2023.

Relocated to current location - June 2024