"The Fate of Martha's Mate"
The Plight of the Passenger Pigeon

Around the turn of the last century, passenger pigeons flew in enormous flocks across the skies of North America. Audubon estimated that the flocks contained somwhere between 2 to 3 billion birds. It took days for the entire fock to pass overhead. They would block out the sun and darken the skies like a cloudy day. With a seemingly inexhaustable supply, opportunists began the massacre, loading up their trucks with pigeon. They drove them to New York and Chicago where they sold them to restaurants who sold them as "squab" a delicacy of the times. Soon their numbers dwindled and the passenger pigeon was thought to be extinct, when the last remaining bird was captured. They named her Martha and searched for her a mate, but to no avail. She expired and her body stuffed and placed in the Smithsonian Institute. Martha and the passenger pigeons became known as the "Martyrs of Extinction". Laws were soon created limiting the amounts of game taken per day. We finally realized the fragility of even the most plentiful of species.

The story of the passenger pigeon and martha was so inspirational I knew I had to sculpt a tribute to them and their fate. The symbolism in this piece evolved over the one years time it took me to create this piece. I certainly did not have everything thought out when I began and I am still in awe at the process of its creation. The bird crucified in this work is a passenger pigeon, the martyr of extinction. A pigeon is a bird belonging to the Dove family, a symbol of peace and love. The dove on the right is prayng and kneeling with it's eyes closed is the Mourning dove, mourning the extinction. The dove on the left is a rock dove, or what I like to call, "City Pigeon". He is preening himself, self endulged . He is not paying attention at all as his head is turned away. "One turned towards and one turned away".