Florida is Nature: Endangered Animals

PUBLIC ART: Florida Turnpike travelers entering Ft. Drum Plaza are greeted by a 20’ mural of a Florida Panther.

Following in line with his own “Endangered World” project, artist Xavier Cortada portrayed Florida’s endangered land animals in Florida Turnpike’s Ft. Drum plaza (near Yeehaw Junction) as part of a series of works and installations entitled “Florida is…Nature”. At the main entrance of the plaza, visitors are greeted by an 8′ x 20′ mural of a Florida Panther, the imagery of the beautiful animal an attempt at sparking a sense of emotional resonance within the viewer. 

The original “Endangered World” project seeks to promote an ethical perspective within its audience that contradicts the nature of more ubiquitous anthropocentric motivations. This is an intention which is seen within these prints, the usage of contemporary aesthetic devices such as photoshop and other digital software creating works that present their respective subjects as indispensable parts of our world. 

Prints from the “Endangered Animals” series are in the collection of Florida’s Department of State in Tallahassee, as well as having been exhibited at the Orlando Science Center and The Frank (Frank C. Otis Gallery and Exhibit Hall) as part of the artist’s overarching “Florida is…Nature” exhibition. They also were included in the artist’s solo exhibition at Creative Pinellas. Conceptualized during Cortada’s residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist Residency in Captiva, Florida, “Florida is…” is an evolving body of work that depicts the natural beauty of Florida. It asks Floridians to define their state by its actual nature, portraying the evolving dichotomy between the built and natural environment.


wood storks

Florida Bog Frogs

Eastern Indigo Snakes

Burrowing Owls

Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers

Gopher Tortoises

Lower Keys Rabbit

Miami Blue Butterflies

Key Deer

Red Wolves

Stock Island Tree Snails

Reticulated Flatwoods Salamanders