BBC News

M32 Maples: Artwork launched to save last tree

By Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley
Broadcast Journalist

Published
image copyrightSimon Holliday
image captionActivist Rowland Dye said people "go past and ask about what's happening more when they see the art"

Campaigners are using art to save the “last tree standing” from being cut down on a road in Bristol.

Murals, mandalas, photographs and a giant spider are on show near the last Norwegian maple tree in St Pauls.

Originally five trees were in Lower Ashley Road, but four have been felled as part of redevelopment plans to build student flats and offices.

Artists and campaigners involved said it helps their message reach people in “a different way”.

Campaign group Save the M32 Maples has previously claimed the strip of land the protected tree is on falls outside the boundary of developer John Garlick's land.

image copyrightSimon Holliday
image captionArtist Gaby Solly said she "plastered the hoardings with lots of faces because they look like they are protecting the trees"

But a city council spokesman said the land belongs to a private developer and "relevant planning permission is in place" so there is "no possible further action for the council to take".

The BBC has not been able to reach developer John Garlick for a comment.

Former nuclear physicist and environmental activist Rowland Dye has created a spider which sits in the last-remaining maple tree.

He said: “It represents Anansi, a spider from African and Caribbean folklore that uses creativity and wit to overcome.

"The hoarding got painted and then the artwork on it evolved over time. It’s now the people’s information wall in front of the last tree standing and new things appear every day."

image copyrightSimon Holliday
image captionArtist Deasy Bamford said "the more trees they cut down the more people are inspired to express themselves"

Artist Deasy Bamford collected leaves from the trees that had been cut down to make a mandala which has been put up on a wall next to the remaining tree.

She said: “The more trees they cut down the more people are inspired to express themselves on that wall.

“You can reach people in a different way with activism art and I love the fact that the wall is a place of expression."

Fellow artist Gaby Solly has been making face masks out of leaves and left equipment by the wall of art so that people can make their own and “share the message” of the campaign.

She said: “If it all helps to draw people’s attention to what's happening down there and about the threes and pollution impact, that to me is critical.”

Related Topics

  • Environment
  • Trees

More on this story

  • Bristol M32 trees cut down in 'pre-dawn demolition'