Seal Art and Science

To say we are super excited is a bit of an understatement. We love bridging the worlds of Seal Art and Science.

Seal Art

Kurt Jackson is a world renowned contemporary artist extraordinaire! As a dedicated environmentalist, Kurt’s stunning outdoor art and studio sessions embrace an extensive range of materials and techniques. These include mixed media, large canvases, print-making, the written word and sculpture. Kurt’s portrayal of our incredible Cornish landscapes and natural world are second to none. His Foundation Gallery has been named ‘Best Art Gallery in Cornwall’ three years running.

Seal Science and Art collide

SRT’s Director, Sue Sayer MBE, first met Kurt when she won her ‘best contribution as an individual’ Cornwall Sustainability Award in 2018. Kurt had sculpted the striking and sustainable trophies that year, in a creative collaboration with the ‘Design for Change’ studio, Leap. The trophies were inspired by the state of the marine environment contaminated with our plastic waste. Kurt created recycled waste acrylic mackerel with Cornish tin pilchards inside, along with a sprinkling of mermaid’s tears, also known as plastic nurdles (the pellets from which all plastic items are moulded.) On meeting Sue, Kurt shared his experiences of growing up seeing seals near his childhood home. He observed seals as a normal, everyday experience around his local coastline. Kurt expressed an interest in studying them, with the aspiration of a future exhibition featuring their form, movements, haunts and habits.

SRT’s Augusta on display at the Jackson Foundation in 2020

Art and Science collaborative exhibition

Just before lock down in 2020, Kurt invited SRT to display our seal skeletons Septimus (a mid teens adult male) and Augusta (a few days old pup) in his Gallery in St Just. This was such a wonderful opportunity to share Kurt and SRT’s holistic approaches to work, life and conservation.
Fast forward to 2024 and we find our lives entwined again. ‘Kurt’s Cornish Seal and SRT’s a Seal’s Story: Sharing our Seas’ exhibition is now a reality. From March 16th to August 10th 2024 at the Kurt Jackson Foundation in St Just, TR19 7LB, you can marvel at Kurt’s portrayal of our native, heritage, specialist Cornish seals. At the same time you can learn about SRT’s citizen science endeavours to protect and conserve seals and their marine environment for future generations of seals and people.

SRT’s Augusta on display in 2024 alongside Emily Barker’s Greta – a white coat pup made from marine debris

Kurt has honoured SRT by allocating his upstairs exhibition space to our informational banners on show, alongside ‘Septimus’ and ‘Augusta’s immortal skeletons. SRT have worked closely with Kurt’s wonderful team, to select an eclectic mix of display items. These bridge art and science to appeal to a wide range of interests and ages.

There’s a lot to see….Septimus with Emily Barker’s marine debris seals Grayson (foreground) and Gracie (background)

SRT is delighted to return Septimus and Augusta to Cornwall and Kurt’s Gallery. In 2023 they spent 8 months as the focus of a marine exhibition on the Isle of Wight. These skeletons are spectacular, fascinating and informative creatures, illustrating what amazing marine mammals seals are. At the same time they act as sentinels, bringing stories and shocking secrets about the state of our seas to us on land. Will we listen and act in time?

Discover Septimus’ shocking story. Did SRT get lucky to get an unlucky seal, or do all seals suffer like him?

Please join us to celebrate our Cornish native, heritage, speciality seals in all their amazing glory. We hope everyone will discover something engaging and inspiring. Enjoy Kurt’s beautiful works of art, alongside SRT’s films, displays, skeletons, imaginative 3d seal art and free resources.

For a small charity, every penny counts and makes a big difference, so if you have enjoyed this blog or the exhibition itself, please consider making an affordable donation to support our seal and marine conservation efforts.

Thank you:

Kurt and Caroline Jackson for giving SRT this opportunity to share our incredible citizen science network acheivements

Fynn and Zinzi Tucker for bringing our exhibition to life and making it happen

Rachel Lochhead who will be running workshop sessions for schools bridging art and science

Malcolm Baker for facilitating all the logistics of the exhibition on SRT’s behalf

…and all SRT’s incredible volunteers who have enabled Septimus and Augusta’s stories to be told, alongside those of so many other individual seals, who collectively have enabled SRT to reveal the complexity of their world to better inform the effective conservation of their species.