Martin King (WINNER)

War Pigeon Diaries

Mixed Media

86 x 94cm

GallipoliArtprize_Finalist_Martin_King

Pigeons have been used in warfare as far back as the Roman Empire. In WWI and WWII pigeons were frequently used to carry vital messages to, and from behind enemy lines. My work refers to the resourcefulness and spirit of army personnel who with great affection and care, worked with homing pigeons. The birds were never considered expendable. They were considered integral to the war effort and were treated as heroes in many cases. Camaraderie was not only between war personnel but extended to the many animals including the beloved pigeons, that were employed in the service of war. My research led me to discover that pigeons were trialed for aerial reconnaissance and were parachuted behind enemy lines and onto battlefields and used extensively for intelligence and communications.

The work is presented as a series of diaries. Diaries can convey a sense of the intimate and the personal. I have found soldier’s personal accounts from the field, in the form of diaries and letters, have always been compelling reading. They can be an insight into the forgotten stories.