M32 Maples: Artwork launched to save last tree

A report by Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley for the BBC.

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.

Artist Gaby Solly
Artist 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.”

Bristol artist Deasy Bamford with her mandala
Artist 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 downto 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.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s