Free art trail shows Cardiff’s historic statues ‘coming to life’ to get people exploring the city

Cardiff Castle’s historic animal wall has inspired a new free art trail designed to bring families together this half-term

Illustrator Jack Skivens said he hopes the trail will get families out exploring the city.
Credit: Grace Nicholls

An art trail based on the idea of Cardiff Castle’s historic statues coming to life has been designed to get people out and about in the city during half-term. 

Illustrator Jack Skivens based the art trail on his new children’s book Night of the Animal Wall where the stone animal statues on Cardiff Castle’s wall come to life at night.

The Caerphilly illustrator hopes that each animal in the trail will be a “little vessel to explore the city.” 

The trail consists of animal statues hidden around the arcades, castle and other locations in the city with the well-known statues from Cardiff Castle’s animal wall ‘coming to life’.

The trail is scheduled for October half-term following the release of Jack Skivens’s children’s book on 29 October. 

The 35-year-old said that he hopes the art trail will make an experience like going to town shopping a little bit more exciting for everyone.

The art trail shows Cardiff Castle’s animal statues ‘coming to life’ around the arcades and city.
Credit: Grace Nicholls

Despite the trail being based on his illustrated children’s book, Jack hopes that all ages will enjoy looking for the installations around the city.

The event is free and will be a solution for those who worry about spending money when finding something to do.

Jack referenced walks around Cardiff with his twin boys as an inspiration for his new book: “I take the boys out to places, and they’ll notice something on a wall, something that I would have seen a million times where I’ve stopped necessarily noticing it. But they’ll go ‘What’s that?’ and ask questions. It’ll be the smallest thing. And I think that’s informed the way I illustrate. I like to find a little story within the story.”

The trail is funded by FOR Cardiff’s City Ambition Fund project. According to their website: “This new project allowed people, businesses and organisations to apply for funds to bring city centre projects that support FOR Cardiff’s aims of enhancing people’s experience of the city.”

When asked how important he thought that art projects like his were funded in Cardiff, Jack said: “I think it’s really important. There are lots of creatives in Cardiff and Wales in general; something like this out on the street might inspire them.

“Everyone’s like ‘move to London or Bristol there’s more opportunities.’ I think stuff like this can show you that that can happen here. If you’ve got an idea you can get out and do it.”