John Frederick Walker

JFW in Furnace “Rotating / Axis” show November 12

Posted in Uncategorized by JFW on November 2, 2022

I’m very pleased to have two works in a group exhibition opening on November 12, 3-5 pm at Furnace – Art on Paper Archive, Falls Village, CT.   

Furnace – Art on Paper Archive

107 Main Street, Falls Village, CT 06031

Winter Gallery Hours 

Saturday, 11am – 4pm 

& by appointment.

Remembering Richard D. Estes

Posted in Uncategorized by JFW on December 9, 2021
Richard Estes, 2008 Angola

Wildlife biologist Dr. Richard D. Estes has passed away.  

Estes was more than an expert, he was a mentor, and an inspiration—to me and many others. The 93-year-old founder and former chair of the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group was the author of The Behavior Guide to African Mammals, The Safari Companion, The Gnu’s World and other authoritative texts, and a legend in the field of African wildlife conservation.  

What is known about the wildebeest is largely based on his research.  But his studies extended to other species as well, including the giant sable antelope of Angola.  He and his wife Runi did fieldwork in 1969-70 and co-authored a definitive paper on this majestic and critically endangered species, the country’s national animal. 

The giant sable was thought to have been wiped out during Angola’s long civil war (1975-2002).  The indefatigable Estes participated in several attempts to determine if any remnant population survived.  I was privileged to join him and other biologists on several expeditions into Angola’s highlands. Above, Estes (then in his 80s) scans the bleak Angolan woodlands in 2008 for any sign of the creature.  

In 2009, we both joined a capture operation organized by Dr. Pedro Vaz Pinto, who had managed to obtain photographs of a few surviving giant sables.  Aided by veterinarian Dr. Pete Morkel, the expedition found some twenty animals, and rounded up enough of them to form a captive breeding group, saving the giant sable from extinction.  

Estes will be missed. 

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The Giant Sable remains endangered

Posted in Uncategorized by JFW on July 9, 2021
Vaz Pinto, on left, with wildlife vet Pete Morkel and a sedated giant sable. credit: Pedro Vaz Pinto

Ashley Stimpson’s recent, riveting reporting in Atlas Obscura focuses on biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto, who spearheaded efforts to save Angola’s walking emblem, the giant sable antelope. Against all odds, the 2009 expedition he headed to find and capture some to create a captive breeding herd, succeeded.

“Though Vaz Pinto has enjoyed many magical moments over the course of his 20-year mission to save the charismatic ungulate, the creature’s future remains fraught,” Stimpson writes. There are only about a hundred of them in Cangandala National Park, perhaps only 300 total in Angola, which is struggling economically, and poaching is on the rise as people struggle to survive.

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JFW Review of Myanmar’s Growing Illegal Ivory Trade with China

Posted in elephant and ivory news, Uncategorized by JFW on October 8, 2020

“This disturbing report is the last of the late Esmond Martin’s collaborations with Lucy Vigne, who worked with him on a groundbreaking series of meticulously researched monographs on endangered wildlife trade studies, including analyses of Asian ivory markets covering three decades. Vigne brought this project to completion in 2018….”

To read the rest of my review, which appears in Pachyderm No. 61, July 2019 – June 2020, click here.

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

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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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