The Trading Tortoise is a traveling art project created by Souther Salazar & Monica Choy with the goal of creating a unique community experience while exploring America through objects and stories. Salazar & Choy have created a sculptural installation (in the form of a large tortoise-shaped trading post) that they set up in different towns and cities throughout the nation. 

At each stop, they recreate their Trading Tortoise installation and invite people to bring a meaningful object, story or creation and exchange it for something else special that Salazar & Choy have found or traded for along the way. They hope to connect people in different places in America in this way, through a network of traded treasures and a mutual love of giving and receiving in a non-monetary exchange. 

Every person has a unique object or story that only they can bring to this project.  Each item traded will be tagged with the person’s name, location, and a number and documented on the Trading Tortoise website so people can follow the trading and see where their item eventually travels to.

Salazar & Choy have also participated in additional creative events in the communities they have visited when possible. Salazar had a solo art show and artist’s talk at Narwhal Projects in Toronto and participated in a pro bono collaborative mural project planned for Children’s Hospital Boston.

In between the scheduled events, Salazar & Choy have been exploring environmental art sites around the country and documenting the overall adventure through photos, videos, and artwork, as well as working on a planned series of 5 printed Trading Tortoise zines. 

The adventure culminates in an art show Salazar has scheduled for May 2013 at Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York City. The art show will feature a new body of work including paintings, drawings, and an on-site installation of sculptures inspired by the overall experience of the Trading Tortoise. 

Here is a schedule of proposed stops. Salazar & Choy encourage you to follow their adventure online, and suggest places you’d like to see the Trading Tortoise visit or events for him to take part in. They hope to see you in their travels!

Send them an email!