About the Mural: Tiny birds with busy lives, two kinglet species—Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned—forage in forest habitat shared by mushrooms like Common Bonnets and Amethyst Deceivers. A collaboration between the Audubon Mural Project and the Fungi Foundation, this mural celebrates the large importance of small organisms. Both birds and fungi play an essential role in the health of the ecosystem they inhabit—one increasingly imperiled by the effects of climate change.
Although Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets are now commonly found across forested areas in the United States and southern Canada, the boreal habitat where they spend each breeding season is poised to evolve as temperatures rise. By 2080, roughly two-thirds of the birds' summer range may no longer be hospitable enough to support them. Mushrooms and other fungi, meanwhile, are similarly vulnerable to environmental stressors—both those that exacerbate climate change, such as deforestation, and those caused by it, such as more intense drought. But because fungi help forests absorb carbon, they can also be powerful allies in the effort to slow global warming.
About the Artist: Youri Cansell, who goes by the name Mantra, is a self-taught artist who began painting walls in the French graffiti scene. Born in Metz, France, he grew up between the noise of the city and the whispers of the surrounding countryside. In his paintings and murals, Mantra pays tribute to nature (be it human or wild) with beautiful and realistic renderings of his subjects. His process is a careful combination of perspective and composition lending mastery to his Trompe-l'œil style, along with exquisite use of colors—leaving his distinctive trace in the urban areas he visits like an echoing mantra, hence his artist name.
Mantra's goal with this mural, entitled "The Kinglet's Journey," was to depict a scene in which fauna, flora and funga are shown in a symbiotic relationship. He appreciates that kinglets can be found in New York, like the mural, he says, and he positioned the male Ruby-crowned Kinglet on a branch to observe and invite the public into it.