The relentless growth of cities and the expansion of populations living in them have inevitable substantial and detrimental environmental effects. One of these is the displacement of wildlife. This is the thematic concern of Native series by Maslen & Mehra. Cities including London, New York, Paris, Rome, Istanbul and Berlin have all been the subject of Maslen & Mehra’s experimental photographs. Heavily built-up urban landscapes are photographed in the early hours, when they are devoid of human activity. The artists take this fleeting opportunity to re-introduce native species into the picture in the form of mirrored sculptures. Roe Deer appear to graze in Canary Wharf, a financial district of London; an American Eagle takes flight in Times Square, New York, capturing a skyscraper and brilliant neon on its mirrored wing.
Maslen & Mehra allow us to experience a city, which is quiet and still — a place, which subsequently can sustain the existence of species other than ourselves. This is not to say that the artists wish for the demise of people and the triumph of nature. The imagery seeks to engage with the viewer and instill in them a desire to witness a more balanced and equitable existence on earth.