un-migrant-ing is an exhibition of painting, drawing, installation, sculpture and film by artist Rajinder Singh.
Rajinder writes: “Un-migrant-ing is based on a text I found recently on the 19th century unverified sighting of the Purple Martin in Dublin (National Museum of Ireland). The show is also developed around a more recent ‘unverified’ report on said bird:
In May of 2019, according to the Irish Birding records, there was a rare sighting of a migrant bird from North America called the Purple Martin in the stone circle at Termon Hill, near the south end of the Mullet Peninsula in County Mayo. The Purple Martin, which matures to a dirty black plumage, is the largest of the aggressive North American swallows. It has taken over large parts of North America. After a season of unfettered breeding it migrates to parts of South America where it aggressively competes for food in the Amazon basin. It is rarely seen in Ireland. The only other sighting claim was in 1840 in Kingstown, Dublin, now at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin.
The Purple Martin, a juvenile, was first sighted Sunday the 16th of May by a group of birding enthusiasts who had travelled to Belmullet for the summer birding season. They alerted the Irish Birding authorities immediately. It is rare for a bird to make the arduous journey across the Atlantic, and it was unlikely to return. One of the birders explained that it probably had little chance of survival and that he was praying it would not reappear again. The authorities are on the alert. The entire area has been searched and there was no sign of it.
The population of Purple Martin in North America usually take over artificial houses of wood or aluminium and fake plastic gourds. The martins compete aggressively with other cavity-nesters, and will fight over nest sites. They have even been known to kill starlings and house sparrows, often evicting them from their nests. Irish Birding has long concluded that, unmonitored, Irish birds will be overtaken by this more aggressive, non-native species.”
Rajinder Singh (b Ipoh, Malaysia) lives in Dublin, Ireland. Rajinder’s photography, video and performance work explore ideas around the vulnerable body and its pain, interrogating the economies of power that deny it space and shape. Often focused on the power of ritual action in the construction of the social body, his practice uses choreography and performative objects to explore the ways the human body unfolds around various topographic and symbolic borders.
Exhibition continues until Saturday 26 Sept 2020