John Frederick Walker

Towers of Ivory: Does Japan have an ivory problem? It’s complicated.

Posted in art news, elephant and ivory news by JFW on December 6, 2019

In a just-published essay in The Smart Set, I examine Japan’s domestic legal ivory market, which is widely thought by many conservationists to be contributing to elephant poaching.  Does it?

Given the widespread laundering of poached tusks in national ivory markets elsewhere, most elephant advocates are convinced that it must be happening in Japan as well — even if there’s no evidence of it.

The problem Japan has with ivory sales is much more complicated: it’s a tangle of seductive traditional art, insufficient enforcement and growing rejection of sustainable wildlife trade….

Read the entire article at https://www.thesmartset.com/towers-of-ivory/

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JFW in Craven Contemporary “New Nudes” show November 16 – Jan 19

Posted in art news, Uncategorized by JFW on November 18, 2019

 

John Frederick Walker, Lip Service (2012)

“New Nudes” is a group show of some of the hottest contemporary artists who are either new or showing the male and female body in a new way. The two largest works in the show are collages by Mickalene Thomas and Troy Michie which appear on the long gallery wall.  Other smaller works shown alongside are by artists including Danielle Orchard, Sam McKinniss, Lou Fratino, Mona Kuhn, Bruno Leydet, Linder, Paul Sepuya, Elad Lassry, Jeremy Kost and Erwin Olaf.

The show will also feature a table of altered book works by local Washington, CT based artist John Frederick Walker.

CRAVEN CONTEMPORARY / 4 Fulling Lane / Kent, CT 06757

Kenya’s White Giraffes

Posted in conservation news, Uncategorized by JFW on October 9, 2019

White giraffes?  The first one known was spotted in Tanzania in 2016.  Now there are three in Kenya’s Ishaqbini Conservancy.  These aren’t albino animals—their coloring is due to a partial loss of pigmentation caused by leucism.  They are otherwise healthy, and are being closely monitored. You can read more about them here.

Ishaqbini is a remarkable community-run sanctuary which I had the privilege of visiting in 2011 to see another rare animal, the hirola, a highly endangered antelope species now being protected on pasture land set aside to conserve them.  You can read my article on them here.

Northern White Rhino Eggs Successfully Fertilized

Posted in conservation news, rhino news, Uncategorized by JFW on August 27, 2019

In breakthrough conservation news, Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya announced on August 23 that 7 out of 10 eggs harvested from the last two existing Northern White rhinos were successfully fertilized with previously frozen sperm from two Northern White rhinos.  (The last male of the species, Sudan, pictured here, died last year at the sanctuary.)  The hope is that viable embryos can be implanted into Southern White Rhino surrogate mothers, and that the Northern White rhino will not go extinct. Fingers crossed….

JFW “Book Works” exhibit at The Judy Black Park, March 13 – April 9, 2019

Posted in art news by JFW on February 27, 2019

28un29furledtext2                     (Un)furled Text,2018. Mixed media/altered book, 9 ¼ x 21 ¾ x ¾ inches

The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens in Washington Depot, Connecticut, presents “John Frederick Walker: Book  Works.” Previews of the exhibition begin March 13, followed by an opening reception and artist’s talk on Saturday, March 16, from 4-6 pm.  Walker’s work will be on exhibit through April 9.

John Frederick Walker has pursued dual careers as an artist and writer since the 1970s, moving to Litchfield county in 1985.  His art has been exhibited in one-person and group shows nationally, and is represented in a number of private and public collections, including the Yale University Art Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Walker began incorporating book forms into his art in the mid-1990s. The pieces in this exhibition all derive from actual books, or book fragments, radically altered. “Part sculpture, part collage, Walker’s ‘book art,’” writes Emily Soell, “ranges from dramatic, wall-dominating pieces to charming diminutive works.”

The artist has taken advantage of The Judy Black Park’s open, light-filled exhibition space to mount a mini-survey of his recent work.  “Book Works” focuses on key themes of Walker’s art: hidden, missing or destroyed information, using the device of open book spreads from which pages have been torn or cut, and turning what remains into graphic meditations on memory and loss.

Regular viewing hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 2-5 pm, and also by appointment (visit the contact page on the artist’s website).

JFW review of The Ivory Trade of Laos: Now the Fastest Growing in the World

Posted in conservation news, elephant and ivory news, ivory news by JFW on September 25, 2018

My review of Esmond Bradley Martin and Lucy Vigne’s latest ivory trade report appears in the issue 59 of Pachyderm.  I write that it makes for grim but “required reading for anyone trying to keep up with how the international ivory trade continues to fuel crisis-level elephant poaching.”  The review can accessed here.

 

 

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JFW review of Ivory: Power and Poaching in Africa

Posted in conservation news, elephant and ivory news, ivory news by JFW on October 1, 2017

 

My review of Keith Somerville’s important new book Ivory appears in the current issue of Pachyderm.  Somerville, a veteran of numerous assignments in Africa during his career with the BBC, brings his journalistic skills to this grim, detailed chronicle of the exploitation of elephants and disempowered Africans. Click here for the complete review. 

 

 

 

JFW interviewed on CGTNAmerica

Posted in art news, conservation news, elephant and ivory news by JFW on August 15, 2017
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“CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to John Frederick Walker about the state of elephant populations and conservation measures. Walker is the author of “Ivory’s Ghosts: The White Gold of History and the Fate of Elephants.””
Here’s the YouTube link:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBTtVYnmBRg

The Dark Side of Ivory Prohibition: Will it help elephants or just vandalize culture?

Posted in art news, conservation news, elephant and ivory news, ivory news by JFW on August 4, 2017
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In a just-published essay in The Smart Set, I look at how recent anti-ivory attitudes threaten to become counter-productive to anti-poaching efforts.  It’s a controversial subject, but shouldn’t be ignored.
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With 25,000 African elephants being slain every year for their tusks, maybe it was inevitable that elephant advocates would grow impatient with critically important but slow-paced efforts to help rural communities co-exist with Africa’s herds, root out endemic corruption in range states, and expose international wildlife trafficking rings.

Now, nearly three decades after the ban, with no end to elephant poaching in sight, their attitudes have gone strident, spiraling into emotion-driven campaigns and unhinged extremism that threatens to turn the war on poaching into an incoherent war on ivory….

 

Read the entire article at https://thesmartset.com/ivory-prohibition/

Sudan: “The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World”

Posted in conservation news, rhino news by JFW on April 25, 2017

I took this photo of Sudan, the last remaining male northern white rhino in existence, several years ago at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya.  He’s under 24/7 armed guard to protect him from poachers, and his horns have been shortened as an added precaution.  Sudan is getting on in years—he’s 43—and alas, shows little interest in the remaining pair of female northern white rhinos that share his corner of the wildlife sanctuary.

To keep this remarkable subspecies from going extinct, Ol Pejeta is raising funds to aid the development of in vitro fertilization technology that might work with females from the more numerous southern white rhino population.

It’s a race against time, and Tinder, the popular social app for meeting new people, has partnered with Ol Pejeta to introduce Sudan and the plight of the northern white rhino.

Sudan has quite a profile:  “I’m one of a kind….6ft tall and 5,000 lbs, if it matters.”  Swipe right, and Tinder users in 140 countries will be directed to a page from which they can donate.  Sounds like a great match.