John Frederick Walker

JFW at Five Points Gallery May 26 – June 25

Posted in art news by JFW on May 18, 2016

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JFW on CCTV-America Ivory Trade Debate

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I was interviewed on CCTV-America last night on the ivory trade in a debate with Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA.  As always, not enough time to make a number of key points, but was able to discuss some critical issues.  The 8-minute exchange is here.

Kenya’s 100 ton ivory burn

Posted in conservation news, ivory news by JFW on April 29, 2016

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On April 30, 2016, Kenya will incinerate 105 metric tons of ivory—5% of global stocks— to “send a message.” Does this make sense?  Or is it a “self-delusional publicity stunt,” as  Mike Norton-Griffiths and Daniel Stiles wrote in the Times of London today, one that could cause a spike in ivory prices, and stimulate more poaching?

Louise Osborne’s piece, “To burn or sell ivory: Which can put an end to elephant poaching?” also appeared today in Deutsche Welle.  She surveys current pro-burn conservation opinion on the planned destruction and also includes my take on the matter:

“John Frederick Walker, who has written widely on the trade of ivory, says ivory has been valued since prehistoric times and is not simply a ‘passing fad.’

‘The earliest carvings humans ever made were from the ivory of woolly mammoth,’ Walker told DW. ‘The attraction to ivory is embedded in world culture, from ancient Egypt to Europe to the far East. It’s a fantasy to think demand is ever going to disappear entirely,’ Walker said.

Instead, Walker advocates a highly restricted, controlled legal trade in naturally occurring ivory. This would work through use of techniques such as radiocarbon dating, micro-chipping and databases to keep track of the industry….”

Unfortunately, such arguments for harnessing demand through managing trade in legal ivory are increasingly viewed as fringe opinions.  That leaves only ivory stockpile destruction and ivory prohibition as strategy options, neither of which is likely to reduce elephant poaching.

JFW at the Brooklyn Public Library February 11 – April 3

Posted in art news by JFW on February 5, 2016

Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Open, and Closed: The Book Art of John Frederick Walker, February 11 – April 3, 2016  

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Interrupted History, 2010-11. Mixed media.   

The book persists in a digital age that threatens to render it extinct. Artist John Frederick Walker
presents another way to look at this remarkable object, an alternative visual experience of the act
of reading to make us think about the surround of meanings books possess.  This exhibition
includes a selection of the artist’s mixed-media, sculptural and one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect
on the printed book.

Balcony Cases, Through April 3

How the rare Giant Sable escaped being bred out of existence

Posted in conservation news, giant sable news by JFW on January 15, 2016
Pedro Vaz Pinto at the American Museum of Natural History's Giant Sable diorama

Pedro Vaz Pinto at the American Museum of Natural History’s Giant Sable diorama

Pedro Vaz Pinto, the Angolan researcher who heads conservation efforts to ensure the survival of his country’s national animal, the giant sable antelope, is the lead author of a just-published paper, “Hybridization following population collapse in a critically endangered antelope” in Nature Scientific Reports (link here).  It was Vaz Pinto’s 2009 capture operation that isolated a remnant giant sable population in Cangandala National Park to prevent hybridization with roan antelopes and allow the subspecies to recover.

JFW at Sharon Historical Society & Museum

Posted in art news by JFW on July 25, 2015

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The Sharon Historical Society & Museum announces the opening on July 25 of its upcoming art show at the Gallery @the SHS titled “Putting It All Together”. The show consists of quilted, collaged and assembled work in mixed media and will feature an eclectic grouping of pieces by local artists Ingrid Freidenbergs, Stephen Garmey, Ghost of a Dream, Gail Jacobson, Paul Neuman, Kate Stiassni and John Frederick Walker. The exhibit runs from July 25 through September 10. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, July 25 from 5:00 to 7:00PM.

18 Main Street, Sharon, CT  860-364-5688.  Hours: Wed, Thurs, Fri — 12PM-4PM; Sat — 10AM-2PM

Why Prohibiting Trade in Ivory Won’t Save Elephants

Posted in elephant and ivory news, ivory news by JFW on June 3, 2015

ele sepiaWhat if we’re wrong about how best to save elephants from being killed for their ivory?  In an opinion piece for Earth Island Journal, I argue that a controlled, legal trade is more likely to slow elephant poaching than the outright ban of all ivory trade now widely advocated.  The article is here.

Will Secret Wildlife Imports Doom Ultra-Rare Giant Sable?

Posted in conservation news, giant sable news by JFW on May 21, 2015

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credit: Richard Estes

My report on the latest threat to the critically endangered giant sable antelope of Angola is now online at National Geographic News.

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JFW on ivory trade at ASIL meeting in Washington DC

Posted in conservation news, elephant and ivory news, ivory news by JFW on April 16, 2015

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On April 9th, I joined Craig Hoover, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Susan Lieberman, Federal Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, and Anna Frostic, Humane Society of the U.S., on an American Society of International Law panel in Washington, DC organized by Rachelle Adam of Hebrew University. The subject?  “Can International Law Help Prevent the Rapid Disappearance of Wildlife?” The entire panel can be seen on YouTube.  My presentation starts at 17 minutes in, and runs for 13 minutes.

The Case for a Legal Ivory Trade

Posted in conservation news, elephant and ivory news, ivory news by JFW on October 13, 2014

Ivory Trade Debate: Should the International Ban on Ivory Be Lifted?

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“In a Yale Environment 360 debate, author John Frederick Walker and conservationist Mary Rice offer opposing views on whether the global ban on ivory trading should be eased. Walker argues that a partial lifting of the ban would reduce demand for illicit ivory, while Rice insists such a move would only accelerate the slaughter of Africa’s elephants.” Read the entire debate here.

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