collage, watercolour 2020 30”h, 22”w
The plight of the passenger pigeon is a well-documented history of the destruction of a species.
After researching first-person accounts of the shooting of thousands of birds at a time and illustrations of the bird, I deemed the illustrations more precious now than the actual bird ever was, during its reign in North America.
I copied period illustrations of passenger pigeons and made digital copies. There are holes in many of the prints to reference gunshots and the prints are arrayed on wires as if they are assembled for target practice. Tree branches are broken under the weight of so many birds gathering.
When I was a young girl in Indianapolis, I used to hear shots firing in the distance and learned that the sound was skeet shooting, aka clay pigeons. I did not realize then as I do now, that the people shooting at facsimiles of pigeons may have been the descendants of those who shot the pigeons during their heyday.