Nurturing Nature at Albright College’s Freedman Gallery, Reading, PA

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Nurturing Nature at Albright College’s Freedman Gallery, Reading, PA

March 20, 2012 @ 8:00 am - April 15, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

Endangered World (0 - 179E) by Xavier Cortada

Above: Xavier Cortada
Endangered World: Eastern Hemisphere drawings (0- 179E)
180 drawings, each 9″ x 12″, pencil on paper

Nurturing Nature:
Artists and the Environment

Nurturing Nature – SC
March 20 – April 15, Freedman Gallery
Based on an exhibition held at the OSilas Gallery, Concordia College, N.Y., last spring, the artists included use the natural environment as both subject and material in their exploration of the creative process. Sustainability, endangered species, and the beauty, utility, and diversity of nature are all themes explored in the works presented. Curated by Patricia Miranda and Amy Lipton.

  • Thursday, March 22, 6 p.m., Lecture by Curator, Patricia Miranda, Klein Hall (186374) – EE
  • Thursday, March 22, 7 – 8:30 p.m., Opening Reception, Freedman Gallery (186373) – EE
  • Mondays, 4 p.m., Afterschool Art Program, $5 per child (186268)

Nurturing Nature, a touring group show first exhibited at Concordia College’s OSilas Gallery, premiered Cortada’s 180 pencil drawings of endangered animals struggling to survive across the 180 degrees of our planet’s Eastern Hemisphere. Those drawings will be presented at Freedman Gallery.

Xavier Cortada’s drawings are part of his “Endangered World” project which has addressed global biodiversity loss through art installations at the South Pole (2007), North Pole (2008), Holland (2009) and Biscayne National Park (2010) and through online participatory art projects through

As in the New York exhibit, visitors who come to the Nurturing Nature exhibit in Reading, PA are encouraged to adopt one of the 180 featured animals by engaging in eco-actions.  Because we are all interconnected (even with species half a world away), our local actions can have global impact.

Exhibit visitors are asked to reclaim their front lawns for nature by bringing home and planting one of the 180 native plants in Cortada’s installation at the exhibit.

About the exhibit


For the past several decades environmentalists have foreseen an impending disaster of epic proportions if and when the planet becomes truly unable to sustain life. The artists in this exhibition are focused on healing our relationship with the living eco-system, recognizing that our very existence depends upon its survival. Their works attempt to bridge the gap between art and life by raising an appreciation of the natural world and by engaging in a collaborative or nurturing process with nature. This exhibition will focus on various spiritual or ethical traditions in relationship to our care of the planet, what Christianity terms “stewardship”, Tikkun Olam or “repair the world” in Judaism and in Buddhism, “compassion for all sentient beings”.

There is no more important and pressing issue today than the future of our global environment. The artists will present works that focus on the healing and reverence of our planet in both a physical and metaphysical sense. The theme is a synthesis of our post-Newtonian age with earlier or proto-scientific ages, referencing an even more ancient prehistoric time when art and nature were not so clearly distinct from one another.

Participating Artists:

Eva Bakkeslett, Vaughn Bell, Susan Benarcik, Michele Brody Jackie Brookner, Linda Bryne, Xavier Cortada, Sonja Hinrichsen, Basia Irland, William Meyer, Maria Michails, Roy Staab, Joel Tauber

Curated by:
Amy Lipton, Co-founder, Ecoartspace, and
Patricia Miranda, Director, OSilas Gallery


OSilas Gallery’s group show premieres Xavier Cortada’s Endangered World drawings:

0 degrees: European Sea Sturgeon

The Nurturing Nature exhibit will be the first to display 180 pencil drawings by Xavier Cortada based on the 360 endangered animals originally featured in the artist’s 2008 North Pole installation, and again, in 2009, in Holland’s Endangered World: Life Wall.

In 2009, Cortada created drawings of the 180 “Endangered World” animals struggling to survive on our planet’s eastern hemisphere and, as a performative work, assumed the identity of the animal by uploading those images online as self-portraits on his  facebook profile photo.

“Endangered World: Facebook (*2009)”
During 2009, the following 180 images were posted at the artist’s facebook profile photo.

“I’ll draw an endangered animal from each of Earth’s 360° and upload it as my facebook profile image. By assuming the animal’s identity on this social networking site, I aim to show the ultimate interconnection: What endangers one species endangers all, including our own.”

Participatory Component:


Gallery visiitors will be able to participate in Xavier Cortada’s “Endangererd World: Life Wall, an eco-art project he launched at the Hunebed Center in the Netherlands’ Drenthe Province.  The installation depicts participants’ online contributions to the project.

Through eco-actions, participants “adopt” one of the 360 endangered animals featured in Xavier Cortada’s “Endangered World: Life Wall.”

On a found stone, participants paint the longitude of the animal they’ve adopted.  They keep their marked stone in a conspicuous place (e.g., a paperweight on your desk) as a daily reminder of the sustainable practice they’ve promised to engage in support of their adopted animal.  (See participants’ photos.)

Endangered World: Life Wall

Installation of eco-actors’ participation (photo images of marked stones inside sealed, clear, plastic bags; each aligned by the longitude where their adopted animal struggles for survival), 2010. 

Artist’s Statement

Although we are using stones to build it, our Endangered World:  Life Wall is a different kind of sculpture than the one I built in Holland.. I see this one primarily as a “social sculpture” –a term coined by artist Joseph Beuys (“every one is an artist”). The wall is erected as every participant artist performs an eco-action on behalf of an endangered animal living along one of Earth’s 360 longitudes.  


This is not to say that our Life Wall cannot also have a physicality. The wall is, after all, made of stones — each hand-pained by the participant with the longitude where their “adopted” animal struggles for survival.


Our wall isn’t vertical, though.  The stones — placed in conspicuous locations (e.g., on top of a desk or night stand) as a daily reminders of the eco-action pledged by participants on behalf of their endangered species — lie flat on a plane across South Florida.  And beyond.  Indeed, the Life Wall is as large as the farthest distance (think globally) between the two closest stones.

Much like electrons are contained in an atom, I envision our stones are held together as a “wall” across these vast distances by the force of each participant’s eco-actions.  The more participants engage in sustainable practices, the stronger the bond.

The stronger our Life Wall.

— Xavier Cortada, Artist


March 20, 2012 @ 8:00 am
April 15, 2012 @ 5:00 pm


Patricia Miranda, Director, OSilas Gallery & Conservatory of Art


Freedman Gallery
Albright College Center for the Arts 13th and Bern Streets
Reading, PA 19612 United States
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