Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 2009 Alumni Hall of Famer and celebrated artist Edna Patterson-Petty re-introduced her “baby” after completing restoration work on “Monty, The Turtle.”
Patterson-Petty unveiled her work of art at the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus on September 4. For two months, the artist lovingly and tediously worked to repair “Monty” after he was vandalized. The turtle’s head was damaged, and it sustained a large gash on his right side, with much of the inside materials spilling out.
“When I first saw it after the attack, I didn’t know if I could do it again,” said Patterson-Petty. “It was like an assault on me. When I did start working on it, I was nervous and wondered if I could restore it.”
Patterson-Petty’s restoration work was done under a tent, and when it came time for “Monty” to be presented, the artist was anxious.
“Now that the tent is gone and ‘Monty’ is exposed, I’m nervous,” said Patterson-Petty. “It’s like giving birth and presenting your ‘baby’ to the world.”
Patterson-Petty created a new head and fixed “Monty’s” side. On the turtle’s side, she added BLM for Black Lives Matter, a crescent moon, a unicorn and word “smile.”
“I won’t say it is a new turtle,” shared Patterson-Petty. “It’s like going to rehabilitation. I hope ‘Monty’ has many, many years left.”