Wall art installation has appeared in the town centre
A piece of street art has appeared in Wimbledon town centre to raise awareness of British birds in London – particularly the house sparrow.
‘It’s Oh So Quiet’, created by Love Wimbledon, in collaboration with artist Louis Masai and local photographer and culture campaigner Cindy Sasha on Alwyne Road, off Wimbledon Hill Road.
The wall art installation features a male house sparrow and female house sparrow inferring the question of ‘where has the sparrow song gone’. Rather than adopting the newer patchwork style, seen in much of Louis Masai’s more recent work, the artist drew on a more realistic, older style of painting to embody the central message of this piece.
Based on the hit single ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ by Icelandic musician Björk, the art reflects how birdsong has reduced over time. The natural sounds of birdsong have been linked to improved mental and emotional health amongst humans. Hearing birdsong allows us to connect with the natural world and can be the perfect antidote to the pressures of modern life.
Sally Warren from Love Wimbledon said: “This collaboration has brought an important message to Wimbledon, whilst also developing a stronger and more vivid cultural strategy for visitors to experience the town centre.
“The art is impactful, meaningful and has had a positive response from business, visitors and local residents. We were pleased to hear we have a crew of house sparrows in Wimbledon town centre - something to be truly celebrated.”
Artist Louis Masai commented: “House sparrows are suffering from habitat loss due to overpopulating cities and a lack of food, e.g. pesticides and herbicides being used on the crops in the countryside which feeds an over-populated country. I would hate to see the fragile state of the environment’s biodiversity only being seen as important when the last bird is no longer around to be heard anymore.”
Cindy Sasha added: "Street art can change a landscape of a town centre and send different messages, great to see this in my old home territory. I love it when the love spreads through art and sends such a positive message - we need more of it!”.
UK house sparrow populations have fluctuated greatly over the centuries, with a gradual decline during the last 100 years. House sparrow numbers were not monitored adequately before the mid-1970s. Since then, numbers in rural England have nearly halved while numbers in towns and cities have declined by 60 per cent.
The Passer Domesticus, the scientific name for the house sparrow, can be found both in the centre of cities and the farmland of the countryside. According to The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), there is a severe decline in the UK house sparrow population, recently estimated as dropping by 71%.
December 18, 2019