This Butterfly Wall shows a representation of nature enveloping an unused building at the heart of the capital. Created in conjunction with a wide and diverse cross section of the community, with thousands of participants, this work is an installation with a difference.
A tiny tendril grows from a drain cover and bursts forth into an organic green jungle, studded with bright jewel-like flowers and butterflies. An overall impression of colour and joy from afar rewards closer inspection as each small wooden image is revealed to be individual and lovingly painted. Created by collective Abundance London, from an initial concept by Stephen Nutt, with the participation of 3000 people, the message is universal – we all need beauty, colour and fun, and nature is always ready to seize its opportunity.
The installation works both from a distance and close up. The painted tendril snakes across a hi-resolution 360 panorama of London by photographer Will Pearson, it branches out to cover the empty building, engulfing the drab urban greyness in a burst of exuberance. Nature reclaiming dereliction.
Looking closer, each butterfly and flower is hand-painted, each a small artwork in its own right, all adding their contribution to the overall impact. 3000 butterflies and flowers were created in west London: by children from 12 schools, care home residents, police officers, dementia hub patients, community groups, cafe and pub drop-in sessions, work teams, recent asylum seekers, brownies, people with learning disabilities – people of all backgrounds and ages (4 to 90).
The artwork was originally created as a temporary installation to cover the Chiswick police station where the building is being sold, the Metropolitan Police moving out.
Funding for the original project was provided by London Borough of Hounslow via the Welcome Back Fund from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the safe return to high streets and help recovery after the pandemic. All artists worked pro bono.