The older child perched on top of the tree seems to be telling a story to her little sister. The small boy half hidden behind the trunk is lost in thought. The sawn tree stumps receding into the distance and the single, frail shoot of a new seedling suggest that an uncertain future lies in these young hands.
The children are familiar characters from work by Seth, a street artist whose gentle but thought provoking murals are a welcome addition to many Parisian buildings. This mural, on the end wall of a Salvation Army hostel, is a collaboration with Ukrainian artist Alexey Kislow.
The Mairie (or town hall) of the 13th actively supports street art and commissions new murals. Thanks to mid twentieth century redevelopment the arrondissement has more than its fair share of large, blank walls on social housing blocks – a blight that is being turned to a benefit for all.
If you’re visiting Paris and would like to see some of these murals for yourself there’s a handy map on the Mairie website. Even the largest murals are surprisingly easy to miss if you’re heading down the road in the wrong direction or paying attention to the traffic. A guide is helpful but a chance discovery is an unexpected treat.