Stuck inside her Brooklyn apartment in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, artist Mayuko Fujino had one connection to the outside world: a single window that looked out on a neighbor’s yard. It was March, then April, and Fujino thought it was about time to see an American Robin. She spotted sparrows, pigeons, cardinals—but none of the robins that usually appear in spring.
This oil on panel painting of a Western Tanager crossing a rocky desert expanse began as a little bit of clay. Artist George Boorujy created this piece as part of series in which he puts himself in the position of future humans and imagines rituals they might enact in a climate-devastated world. He sculpts objects that could be part of these rites of survival and passage, then paints them into apocalyptic landscapes.
Like so many others, artist Jessica Maffia took refuge in nature in the earliest days of the pandemic. “I’d been thinking about our local nature for some years, but during quarantine, that’s all I wanted to do,” she says. “I wasn’t making art for a long time—I was just coming and getting to know who the more-than-human neighbors are.”
Although she took part in her first guided bird walk in 2016, it was only in the spring of 2020 that she began birding more seriously, taking classes on birdsong—Maffia can now identify more than two dozen birds by ear—and patch birding, revisiting the same place and learning its avian residents and visitors. Since then, Maffia has embraced Inwood Hill Park in uptown Manhattan as her patch. That’s where I reached her by video call in May, her face framed by trees, the birdsong in the background as clear as her voice. “I’m finding that my nature enthusiasm and art practice are very much merging,” Maffia says.
Artist Andrew S. Yang coaxes new life from seeds that bird-strike victims consumed, turning dead ends into second chances.
Musicians, artists, and innovators learn from avian flight. A new learn-from-home concert and curriculum brings three together to teach children during challenging times.