Louise Jennison
For Martha
Concertina artists’ book, unique state, pencil on Fabriano bright-white 300gsm paper


This artists’ book, made especially for the exhibition By This Unwinking Night, features the now extinct Passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). Its title refers to the last known individual of the species, Martha (after Martha Washington), who died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoological Garden at 1pm at the age of twenty-nine. The year was 1914. Martha now resides in a display case within the Smithsonian Institution, and, in one sense, across the pages of this book.

For Martha was exhibited in the 2013 Libris Awards: Australian Artists’ Book Prize, Artspace Mackay, Queensland.

An unexpected gathering and A meeting of parrots that shouldn’t is bound in the same fashion.


The extinction of the passenger pigeon is a poignant example of what happens when the interests of man clash with the interests of nature. It is believed that this species once constituted 25 to 40 per cent of the total bird population of the United States. It is estimated that there were 3 billion to 5 billion passenger pigeons at the time Europeans discovered America.
(Encyclopedia Smithsonian)