Earlier this year I was working at the Custard Factory and could see a wonderful multi-coloured hut being built in the Rea Garden. I soon learnt that it was to be a pigeon loft. I was eager to see it up and running. Before the horrible downpour started today, I visited the garden to see Project Pigeon. Birmingham based artists Alex Lockett and Ian England are keeping the birds in the garden on Floodgate Street in Digbeth this summer.
Alex was tending to the pigeons today. She told me how Ian and herself were training them up to participate in races. In fact they were taking the pigeons to Bromsgrove this evening to release them, to practice for their first competition in a weeks time. She also showed me an egg that one of them had laid this morning!
For a year Alex and Ian did research into pigeons, going to racing clubs and pigeon fancier exhibitions. Pigeons were donated by local breeders, and they will enter races with the Aston & District Flying Club. They built their brightly striped loft out of reclaimed materials. The red and white striped exterior and perches are traditional, from a time when it was believed the pigeons would be attracted back to the loft by the bright patterns and colours.
The loft is open every Sunday from 11-3pm until September. Over the next few months there will also be a range of pigeon themed events. You can see what the pigeons have been getting up to recently here.
It was also interesting to see some of the pieces that form the Unnatural Selection exhibition in the garden. Featuring the work of Helen Grundy and Anne Guest, the exhibition is open Monday – Sunday 11-4pm until August 9th. I look forward to seeing how the Rea Garden develops.