This weekend Lois and I are going to London. Lois has a place on the Trafalgar Square Plinth on Saturday at 4.00pm. If you happen to be in the square on Saturday you may see what looks like a huge pigeon on the plinth.
Lois makes machine embroidery; I call it Fabricolage – putting fabrics together in a collage – stuck together by wild machining. Most of her art has quirky hidden messages in it so this pigeon will have a person on its head. The costume is a sort of embroidery, only in three dimensions and plinthed rather than framed.
Actually the ‘man’ on her head will be a model of Anthony Gormley’s Iron Man, the statue in Birmingham – just to pay some homage to Gormley for having the great idea of the plinth. An aside about the Iron Man here - Someone in one of the Birmingham newspapers obviously hated the statue and the paper rad a poll to find out Brums most loved and most hated statue. I think they planned to have the Iron Man removed if it came last. The amazing thing was that the Iron Man won both polls - most hated and most loved statue. What more could you ask from a work of art.
Lois will also be wearing a mock up of the medal that gets given to brave animals in war. Most of the winners have been carrier pigeons, taking messages that have saved soldiers lives.
Wikipedia says - The Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 by Maria Dickin to honour the work of animals in war. It is a large bronze medallion, bearing the words "For Gallantry" and "We Also Serve" within a laurel wreath, carried on ribbon of striped green, dark brown and pale blue. Traditionally, the medal is presented by the Lord Mayor of the City of London. It has become recognized as "the animals' Victoria Cross". The medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949, to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, 3 horses and 1 cat.
The medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949, to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, 3 horses and 1 cat.
It seems only right to add that as a touch because so many of the statues in London have some sort of military connection. Mostly they have boring looking men on them – and usually a pigeon or two.
I doubt if all those pigeons standing on top of statues are protesting at the lack of recognition of animal bravery but at least for an hour on Saturday the roles will be reversed.