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Endangered World

In January 2007, National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program award recipient Xavier Cortada traveled to the South Pole.

Using acrylic paint diluted with Antarctic sea water, the Miami artist painted 24 flags with the scientific name of species across Earth whose habitats are being destroyed by man (see list below).

Cortada also painted the habitat's longitude on each of  the 24 flags (e.g.,  Gorilla at 30°East, Panda Bear at 105° East, Leatherback Turtle at 120° East, Siberian Tiger at 135° East, etc.).

Cortada then planted the flags 15 degrees from one another  in a circle around the South Pole, aligning each with its corresponding longitudinal line as it converges on the planet's southernmost point.

The twenty-four animals Cortada selected for the flags are endangered because their habitats are environmentally threatened by man and/or because they have been hunted to the brink of extinction. 

In his Endangered World installation, the artist situates these animals on the driest, coldest and most inhospitable of continents to highlight the point that numerous species across the globe are losing their habitat.  Half of the planet's biodiversity is threatened.

Unless we act to address issues of global climate change and ecosystem destruction, many of these banners will soon bear the name of extinct species.

European Sea Sturgeon
Acipenser sturio)
Steller's Sea Lion

(Eumetopias jubatus)
15° E
Black Rhinoceros
Diceros bicornis)
165° W
(Xiphias gladius)
30° E
Eastern Gorilla
Gorilla beringei)
150° W
Blue Whale
Balaenoptera musculus)
45° E
Ring-tailed Lemur
(Lemur catta)
135° W
Sea Otter
Enhydra lutris)
60° E
Imperial Eagle
Aquila heliaca)
120° W
Peary Caribou
Rangifer tarandus ssp. pearyi)
75° E
Asian Elephant
Elephas maximus)
105° W
Gulo gulo)
90° E
Asian Buffalo
Bubalus bubalis)
90° W
American Crocodile
Crocodylus acutus)
105° E
Giant Panda
Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
75° W
Red Wolf
Canis rufus)
120° E
Leatherback Turtle
Dermochelys coriacea)
60° W
Amazonian Manatee
Trichechus inunguis)
135° E
Panthera tigris)
45° W
Maned Three-toed Sloth
Bradypus torquatus)
150° E
Phascolarctos cinereus)
30° W
Polar Bear
Ursus maritimus)
165° E
Yellow-eyed Penguin
Megadyptes antipodes)
15° W
Pan troglodytes)

Blue Whale (150° W)

Black Rhinoceros (15 ° E)

Siberian Tiger (135° E)

Leatherback Turtle (° 120 E)

Panda (105° E)
please click on drawings to see larger images


Please click here to read artist's blog from Antarctica



xavier cortada
art gallery | projects | profile |media | calendar | email | home 

Xavier Cortada's work has been shown across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Antarctica and locally in the Miami Art Museum, the Miami Museum of Science & Planetarium and the Bass Museum of Art. The Miami artist has been commissioned to create art for the White House, the Florida Supreme Court, Miami City Hall, the Museum of Florida History and the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Cortada's work is also in the permanent collection of The World Bank.

For more information, please visit

Copyright © 1997-2007 by Xavier Cortada.
All rights reserved.