About the Mural: A collaboration between the Audubon Mural Project and the Fungi Foundation, this mural celebrates the essential and often unseen organisms in nature. Tiny birds with busy lives, two kinglet species—Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned—forage on the floor of forest habitat shared by mushrooms like Common Bonnets and Amethyst Deceivers. Both birds and fungi play an important role in the health of the ecosystem they inhabit—one increasingly imperiled by the effects of climate change.
Widespread across the United States in Winter, Ruby-crowned Kinglets head north to breed in the dense coniferous forest of the boreal. Golden-crowned Kinglets likewise migrate to the boreal from points across the Lower 48. Both species are poised to lose roughly two-thirds of their breeding range if global warming continues apace. Mushrooms and other fungi, meanwhile, are vulnerable to environmental stressors such as increased drought—but they also help forests absorb carbon, thus can be powerful allies in the effort to slow global warming.
About the Artist: Born in Metz, France, Mantra is a self-taught artist who began painting, mainly on walls, in the French graffiti scene. 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) in a unique “realist” yet lively style. 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 was to depict a scene in which fauna, flora and fungi are shown in a symbiotic relationship. He chose kinglets because they can be found in New York, like the mural, and he positioned the male Ruby-crowned Kinglet on a branch to observe and invite the public to dive into it.