The sharp-eyed amongst you will have spotted that a mural has appeared on the Heath Road railway bridge foot tunnel in Twickenham. Entitled Take the Time, it was created by artist Bryony Benge-Abbott and students from Orleans Park and Waldegrave Schools, and it asks Twickenham residents to notice the natural life around us.
The mural focuses on the hidden life of the Oak tree, an icon and regular feature of the Richmond borough. The students have given a voice to the tree through poetry and messages to all of us asking us to address the climate crisis.
The project has been developed through a collaboration between Orleans House Gallery and the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London and UK Youth for Nature. The mural has been sponsored by Octopus Energy. It is part of a wider collection of murals being designed by young people up and down the country responding to the crucial UN Climate Conference (COP26) taking place this November in Glasgow.
The mural was created through a series of workshops with the students, Bryony, and scientists from Imperial College. Specialists in urban ecology, Dr Will Pearce and Dr Tilly Collins, alongside PhD student Hollie Folkard-Tapp, took the students around the woodlands at Orleans House Gallery elaborating on the ecosystem and how important the roots and fungi network is beneath the ground to everything we see, touch and hear above it. Bryony helped the students consider this awareness through sketching, painting and poetry. The students were asked to consider the role of art and science in shaping our understanding of the world and this mural is the result of their ideas and voices.
Twickenham residents will have noticed the powerful poem, written by one of the Orleans Park School students, asking us to consider our future and our relationship with nature.
Take the Time took a week for Bryony with the amazing support from volunteers and the team from Orleans House Gallery, as well as Discover Twickenham and Percy Chapman and Sons (the Hardware store next door), to complete.
Orleans House Gallery is a contemporary art gallery set in beautiful gardens overlooking the River Thames in Twickenham.
At its heart is the lavish Baroque Octagon Room. With a year-round programme of exhibitions, live events and educational experiences. The gallery is free to visit Tues – Sun, 10am-5pm.