Becoming Avian, Curtesy of Andrea Roe and Peter Summers

Fashioning Feathers will host the North American premier of Andrea Roe’s video-work Kingfisher.  Video footage taken by Roe in Kingfisher reveals the delicate and creative process of ethical taxidermy and in particular showcases the expertise of Peter Summers, a museum taxidermist expertly preparing a mounted kingfisher.

Through a Leverhulme Trust artist residency at the Natural Sciences department of the National Museum of Scotland, Scotland, she became interested in capturing the critical moments of the process of taxidermy, a practice often thought of as macabre or gruesome. Roe, however, believes there is something poetic, if not beautiful about transforming dead animals into specimens that appear to be alive as Kingfisher so aptly demonstrates:


“I noticed that Peter explains bird movement and behaviour in relation to his own body, at times not appearing to differentiate between the animal and himself. His knowledge of animals and his ability to represent them in a natural pose are in my mind unmatched in their delicacy and superfine accuracy.”


KingFisher’s showing at Fashioning Feathers… will be its North American premier. In this website context Andrea Roe and Peter Summers have kindly permitted us to show the following video, produced by Roe, demonstrating Peter in the final stages of making a cabinet skin of a Blue Tit. The film depicts Peter aligning the bird’s feathers in the manner it would do itself when preening:

All the bird skins in both Peter and Andrea’s own taxidermy practice (a skill Roe gained when apprenticed to Peter over several years at the NMS) are ethically sourced ‘found dead’ specimens.

see “Ruffling Feathers” for more details.

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