Next time you’re at King's Cross, look out for three 60ft botanical draperies adorning the facade of the Granary Building.
Fabulae Nature was designed by contemporary visual artist Lucy Orta, co-founder of Studio Orta in France, as part of her year-long Lost Species campaign, honouring the hundreds of species lost from the natural world.
The prints on the vertical banners act as a visual database of species, featuring gigantic images of flora photographed by Lucy + Jorge Orta during their expeditions to the Amazon, intertwined with animals. Orta hopes that the artworks will remind onlookers of the important relationship between living beings and the planet.
28% of the world’s species are currently endangered, Orta says, emphasising the importance of knowing what we risk losing in our natural world.
"By observing these draperies, I’m inviting people young and old to build new alliances between the everyday, threatened and extinct species and to invent new scenarios."
During her 12-month stint as King's Cross artist-in-residence, Orta has organised a series of family activities, student projects, installations and interactive activities that honour the natural world.
Fittingly, on Earth Day (22 April 2023), the draperies act as a backdrop for a performance celebrating biodiversity. Audience members can expect dancers whirling to the beat of a drum while dressed in costumes mirroring the prints of the draperies. Says Orta:
“The performance aims to evoke a shared aesthetic and a collective ritual, combining primeval sound and dance.”
There are three performances throughout the day. King's Cross Visitors Centre will have mask-making kits, fold-out templates of the critical features of 26 ‘lost’ species, and copies of Orta’s book, The Lost Species Handbook.
Fabulae Naturae is on display 29 March - 29 April 2023 and is free to visit.