Murals at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology

Video by Video by Lindsay France/University Photography

Video by Lindsay France/University Photography

This past spring, naturalist, writer, and artist James Prosek completed the Wall of Silhouettes on the north wall of the Lab’s visitor center. As you can see from the video above, this mural is all in black and white, and shows the life-size, hand-painted silhouettes of 170 birds in different habitats, accompanied by numbers like those in a field guide to represent the relationship between us and nature and one of the ways in which people connect with birds.

A mural by artist Jane Kim planned for the wall facing Prosek’s paintings is scheduled to be completed next November, and will feature representatives from all 231 bird families,including extinct species like the Giant Moa. From the renderings in the video below, it looks like many of these birds will be painted in color — and also life-sized — and it will be a fantastic complement to the Wall of Silhouettes. Kim’s work, titled “From So Simple a Beginning,” a line from Darwin’s writings on evolution, has been partly crowd-funded by supporters on IndieGoGo.

I look forward to seeing the two works — which themselves are part of a greater celebration of the Lab’s 2015 centennial anniversary — across from each other in the visitor center, which is already full of such fascinating and wonderful images and displays. If you’re interested in learning more about Jane Kim’s artwork, you can visit her design studio Ink Dwell’s website.

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