Audubon Mural Project

Barn Swallows by Marthalicia Matarrita

Location: Broadway Pharmacy, 3621 Broadway, New York, NY 10031

Installed: 06/19/22

About the Bird: A familiar bird with a graceful flight, the Barn Swallow—true to its name—has adapted well to living adjacent to people. It typically builds its mud-and-grass nests in barns, under eaves and bridges, and on other human-made structures. The bird is frequently seen swooping low over fields and water to capture and eat insects in flight. Although abundant now, the Barn Swallow will also feel the effects of climate change. In North America, it’s poised to lose summer and winter range along the southern United States and Mexico and will also be vulnerable to related threats like wildfires and spring heat waves that endanger nestlings.

About the Artist: Born and raised in Harlem, Marthalicia Matarrita studied fine art at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Matarrita is well known in the New York City street art scene, painting murals around the city and participating in many live art performances. She first chose the Barn Swallow for this mural so that she could depict small birds in flight, then noticed its v-shaped tail. She recalled seeing the swallows in flight on a recent. trip to the Dominican Republic and translated that memory to her mural design. Matarrita has painted several murals for the Audubon Mural Project. The project, she says, “truly gives space for people to learn a great deal about all these birds.” She feels fortunate to have the opportunity give the birds a presence, especially in her community. She says, “This project helps bring together people and stories such as mine.”

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