by Annie Churdar in New Art on Friday 29 November 2013

Duke Riley is a rebel. Big time. But according to the man himself, he’s also a patriot. Known for pushing social, political, and legal boundaries in his work, Riley’s latest project tops all previous escapades. Trading with the Enemy involved 50 carrier pigeons, a few Cuban cigars, and a lot of guts.

Riley bred and trained an army of pigeons to fly from Havana to Florida with cigars and cameras attached to their bodies. He documented the smuggling and exhibited the results at the MagnamMetz Gallery.

Where did the idea come from? It all started when Riley decided to speak up about the unfair and inconsistent attitude held against Cuba by the American government. As he points out: ‘Despite no hostile actions, Cuba remains the only nation against which the United States upholds the Trading with the Enemy Act’. And so the project received its name.