Over the past 5 years, some of you who know me will have heard me talking about my pigeon project. In 2017 I was living in a flat where I could see pigeons regularly gathering on top of the Opera House in Tunbridge Wells from the back of the building. It was at a time when I was becoming hyper aware of animals as conscious entities. I stopped to look at the pigeons many times each day and, over the course of a year, I started to feel an an affinity with them. I was often touched by their sense of community and I began to realise that they were allowing me to commune with them. With their permission I started regularly filming the pigeons which allowed me to study their behaviour and movement. I made lots of drawings from the film and I went to the British Library to study the books that they have on pigeons. I eventually realised that the pigeons were my teachers and that they had a wealth of knowledge that I could learn from. The pigeon project (I still haven't settled on a title) became a quest to understand what the pigeons were teaching me. It reached a point where it was obvious that they had knowingly become my teacher. However, the lessons were not always easy to understand. The project has, therefore, been my attempt to decode and translate what the pigeons were telling me. As I started to understand the teachings I realised that something amazing was happening. The pigeons were teaching me nothing short of the meaning of life in its wholeness and my place in the universe.
The pigeons urged me to share this experience and I have been working on the materials for the past few years. As with many of my unfinished projects, although it has evolved into an overall framework within which I understand what the work is about, I have never actually come close to completing a first draft. I let the pigeons down. As I have previously shared, I am in a process of bringing all my work in progress to at least a first draft. I have all of the material for the pigeon project and I am now just pulling it altogether and editing it into a film.
In the meantime, I have been going through the drawings and research and I am going to post some of this as the first draft emerges. This post marks the first of these posts.
There is no definitive list of pigeon breeds. Depending on the source and how you count them, the number of breeds is somewhere between 300-700. Today I have completed a drawing of 106 of these pigeon breeds and the drawings are shown below.
Darwin studied pigeons extensively and wrote about them in the Origin of Species. Darwin confirmed that all pigeons are descended from the Rock-Pigeon (Columba Livia). The fact that all pigeons were connected to the 'Adam & Eve' of pigeons helped me to understand the strong connection between pigeons and the profound sense of community and fellowship that they experience.