Brandon Ballengée Mourns the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker


Brandon Ballengée is an environmental artist, whose work highlights the impact man’s actions have on endangered species. Since 2006, he’s also been memorializing extinct animals through his ongoing series, “The Frameworks of Absence.”

For each work in the series, Ballengée carefully carves out an image of an extinct animal from a book, burns the image, and then stores the ashes in an urn until they can be scattered.

We recently accompanied Ballengée on a visit to the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in Tallulah, Louisiana — where the last confirmed ivory-billed woodpecker was seen in 1944.

Ivory-billed woodpeckers, as drawn by John James Audobon

[On a hopeful note, researcher Michael Collins claims to have proof that a few of these birds might still be around.]

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Articulate with Jim Cotter is an Emmy Award-winning magazine show that examines the human condition as expressed through culture and creativity. From ballet to busking, and grand opera to gaming, Articulate invites viewers to engage with the unfamiliar to discover truths common to us all.

Articulate is funded by a generous grant from the Neubauer Family Foundation and airs on WHYY-TV Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.

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