Street Art 2020
We want to get our message across to as many people and in as many ways as possible. So in 2020 we decided we'd love to see some hen harriers flying on our streets and walls, in cities and elsewhere. So we called for street artists to get out there – safely and legally – to paint a hen harrier or two.
This idea came from Shirelle Young, who was planning to include a great piece of street art in association with the first hen harrier day planned for Aberdeen. Sadly Covid-19 put paid to that for 2020 but not before we'd decided to extend the idea.
We ended up with three brilliant artworks which we hope will engage people's interest for years to come. So if you are driving to Inverness, walking by a grouse moor in North Yorkshire, or visiting the RSPB's reserve at Rainham Marshes, do look out for a passing raptor.
Pictured: a fine hen harrier of an earlier generation by ATM at Shellness, Isle of Sheppey.
The inspiration of Andrea Goddard, a Hen Harrier Action trustee, this artwork is in a perfect location at a stop on the A9 just short of Inverness. So should you be heading up north through the raptor persecution territory of the Cairngorms National Park, you'll meet this fine ringtail harrier. It was painted by Marc from Freshpaint, and we offer huge thanks to Kaitlyn, Kieran, Lynette and Phil Clark for narration, music and video, Lisa Marley for editing and Gary from SignImage for the signage.
A top moment from Hen Harrier Day Online: Nicky and Simon Johnson speaking plainly about how and why they created this wonderful mural at their home in Hartoft in the North York Moors National Park. Furious about the seemingly endless incidents of wildlife crime happening in their county, virtually on their doorstep in some cases, they decided to make a big statement! They painted the whole gable end wall of their barn (6.5m wide, 5m high) to create a bold and beautiful mural celebrating some of North Yorkshire's persecuted birds of prey. You can see the work and listen to their story here. Huge thanks for a great interview to Paul Samuels at PJS Films.
Ahead of Hen Harrier Day Online, ATM, a London-based street artist, painted a stunning male hen harrier at RSPB Rainham Marshes. ATM paints birds threatened with extinction, celebrating the beauty of the natural world and highlighting the current biodiversity crisis we are living through. In this film you can see the creation of the artwork, listen to ATM discuss his work, and see the reactions of staff and visitors to the reserve. To follow ATM's work, follow him on Instagram or Twitter, or visit his website. More excellent work by Paul Samuels at PJS Films.
More hen harriers?
If you are a street artist and are inspired by these works, why not turn that into action. We'd love to see more street art highlighting the beauty of the birds and other animals that seek to make their home in our uplands but which often face terrible persecution in the name of 'sport'. Please look here for the original call for entries, which includes guidelines, and then send us a photograph of your work using the form here. We will then get in touch and discuss with you how best to share it with the wider world.