Both an artist and a biologist, Brandon Ballengée created the latest exhibition at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, titled Age of Loneliness.
"Every one of us in one way or another is an artist and a scientist. We are scientists every day in that we're making analytical decisions and we're navigating the world through that part of ourselves but we're also equally emotional and poetic," explains the artist. His exhibition walks visitors through the gulf of mexico, the species that are now extinct, the diversity that persists and the story of how things came to be this way.
"A lot of work that is a response to the 2010 deepwater horizon oil spill and also work about the taylor energy spill which is ongoing. it's a spill that hasn't been stopped since 2004," says Ballengée.
The largest and most impactful part of the exhibition shows almost 30,000 specimens the artist collected himself after that 2010 oilspill. Some of the paintings are done with actual crude oil, and the last room showcases all of the extinctions in the last 3 centuries.
"I hope that people feel sad and a sense of loss for species that have disappeared. I hope they feel wonder and joy to see the diversity of life in the gulf and some of the other deptictions in teh exhibition, encouragement because they see how resilient the species are which reflects the resiliency of our community here... and then also empowerment when they see things like the pollenator garden and what we're building to help native species," he says.
This pollenator garden serves as a sign of hope for the future, showing people, as they leave the ACA, what they can do to promote the continuation of life cycles.
This exhibition will be open through January 8th, and you can visit the ACA's website for supplementary learning and activities.