SF Bird Encounters - The Mural / by Walter Kitundu

Last year I was commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission to create a mural for the new terminal at San Francisco International Airport. This is the result. The images are birds I photographed in the Bay Area and they are printed onto wood, cut out by hand, and inlaid into the background, which is also all hand cut.

The Golden-Crowned Sparrow in the center has playable wings. The secondaries are xylophone tines and are tuned to the notes in the Sparrow's song.

Here is a close-up of the wings.

The benches are also xylophones and are tuned to the Sparrow's song. You can actually sit on them too. Heartfelt thanks to Siobhan Ruck for her beautiful illustrations which adorn the two benches.

The mural is dedicated to Dr. Peter A. Kitundu, my father, who passed away early this year while I was completing this artwork.

So the next few posts will give some insight into the process of making a musical bird mural by hand. It was exhausting and sometimes frightening, stressful, but also rewarding, and eventually very satisfying. I learned a great deal.