In January 2007, National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program award recipient Xavier Cortada traveled to the South Pole.
Using acrylic paint diluted with Antarctic sea water, the Miami artist painted 24 flags with the scientific name of species across Earth whose habitats are being destroyed by man (see list below).
Cortada also painted the habitat’s longitude on each of the 24 flags (e.g., Gorilla at 30°East, Panda Bear at 105° East,Leatherback Turtle at 120° East, Siberian Tiger at 135° East, etc.).
Cortada then planted the flags 15 degrees from one another in a circle around the South Pole, aligning each with its corresponding longitudinal line as it converges on the planet’s southernmost point.
The twenty-four animals Cortada selected for the flags are endangered because their habitats are environmentally threatened by man and/or because they have been hunted to the brink of extinction.
In his Endangered World installation, the artist situates these animals on the driest, coldest and most inhospitable of continents to highlight the point that numerous species across the globe are losing their habitat. Half of the planet’s biodiversity is threatened.
Unless we act to address issues of global climate change and ecosystem destruction, many of these banners will soon bear the name of extinct species.
European Sea Sturgeon
Steller’s Sea Lion
(Rangifer tarandus ssp. pearyi)
Maned Three-toed Sloth