Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma

Exploring the close bonds we share with the natural world through the arts is vitally important.

Some of our country’s most celebrated art looks into the relationship between its people, nature, and landscape. And as we see lockdown being cautiously lifted and people starting to re-emerge from their homes, this week (19 April 2021) we proudly present a formidable pair of collaborations that we have been working on in the past few months that explore these themes.

Red kite lands in the heart of our capital

As our national bird and as the subject of one of Wales’ most recent conservation successes, the red kite holds a very special place in our hearts. Its recovery from the brink of extinction is one of hope – of what can be accomplished when we recognise the value and importance that our wildlife holds, and when cooperation and efforts between conservation projects and communities are successful. These days, it is almost impossible not to spot the iconic fork-tailed silhouette of a red kite gliding in the sky above when venturing on the long and winding a470 across our country. While it more often spotted in Wales’ rural areas, our first collaboration brings this iconic bird and all that it represents, to the heart of our capital city.

RSPB Cymru has collaborated with artist Sarah Wardlaw in sculpting a huge red kite, which is exhibited outside Cardiff Castle this week. Made from eco-friendly resources, it represents the astonishing revival of one of our most notable and loved birds. Designed and built by north Wales-based Wardlaw, it will feature an augmented reality (AR) projection which will light up the red kite when on display, to give the public and online audience an uplifting and celebratory experience.

Sarah used a combination of traditional blacksmithing with augmented reality (AR) to give the ‘illusion of flight or existence of spirit’ to this sculpture. She was inspired by the ‘principle of flight, navigation, and the magic of altitude’, and believes as an artist, we can ‘collectively help prevent extinction and protect wildlife’ by using our personal stories and give our ‘imagination the freedom to unfold and be limitless’.

The power of music

Our second collaboration is with Cardiff folk singer, and long-time supporter of RSPB Cymru, Gareth Bonello. Under his stage name The Gentle Good, Bonello has enjoyed success in winning both the Welsh Music Prize and the Eisteddfod’s coveted Welsh Language Album of the Year. Nature is never far from Bonello’s work, as he often finds inspiration from the wildlife that graces Wales’ skies and landscapes.

The Gentle Good’s new single, Adfywio/Revival, uses Welsh mythology as his avenue in calling for the Welsh public to realise our nature and climate emergency, and to act to undo the vast deterioration that we have seen in our wildlife in the recent decades.

Gareth borrowed from the story of the Celtic goddess Rhiannon and her mystical birds, who can sing people to sleep and revive the dead. He didn’t want to hide the fact that we were in a climate emergency and wanted to show that time is running out to slow down and change the damage we’re creating.

Use your voice

Both the unveiling of the sculpture and the release of the single are a part of RSPB Cymru’s Revive Our World, a campaign calling for a green and just future for Wales - by introducing legally binding targets to restore nature by 2030 and for a green recovery from the pandemic across the UK.

In less than three weeks, voters in Wales will visit the polling stations and elect the next Welsh Government. RSPB Cymru are calling for the next Welsh Government to show true leadership and implement a Green Recovery that will not only tackle the nature and climate emergency, but also deliver access to nature for everyone and improve public health and well-being. The campaign calls for the next Welsh Government to put in motion a just and Green Recovery that will benefit people and planet through a wave of green jobs, environmental protections, resilient and rich land seas, healthy citizens and strong leadership.

We have a huge opportunity to turn around nature's decline in Wales. But only if we act now. If you care about nature, join us and be the voice for change.