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Brooklyn Street Art

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Jetsonorama Re: Coal and The Navajo Nation; “It’s Complicated”

Posted on September 22, 2011

Street Artist Jetsonorama has a new campaign in Flagstaff, Arizona and on the Navajo Nation reservation using his photographic wheat pastes to highlight the relationship of coal to health, economy, and people. As a health care professional, he sees the impact of burning coal vividly, and with a fresh faced model named JC, he makes the simple and powerful connection to the cloud of history that is fossil fuel metaphorically hanging over our heads.

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Jetsonorama “JC at Home” (photo © Jetsonorama)

Beginning September 24th, an organization called 350.org will launch an international campaign to raise awareness on carbon emissions and climate change and Jetsonorama joined with a number of other artists to illustrate the relationship we have with fossil fuels.

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Jetsonorama explains, “My model for this project was JC.  I got together with her mom (Josey) and dad (Jameson) and JC this evening to photograph her by the installation of the image near her home.”  (photo © Jetsonorama)

Here is how Jetsonorama describes the project;

“If the Navajo Nation and coal were to declare their relationship status on Facebook, they’d chose the ‘it’s complicated’ option.  I live and work on the Navajo Nation where coal is mined and burned. That’s why I chose to work with this imagery and to use coal as a metaphor for a black cloud over the head of future generations.

I informally interviewed 16 Navajo co-workers and asked them to share with me the first thing that comes to mind when I say ‘coal.’  Everyone identified respiratory problems associated with burning coal in the home.

The Navajo Nation is home to 170,000 people who live in an area that is 27,500 square miles in size, or approximately the size of Ireland.  Despite having land that is rich in coal, natural gas, uranium, water and timber, the Nation has an unemployment rate of 40% and over half of the Navajo population lives below the USA defined poverty line.  A small segment of the population is able to provide a middle class lifestyle for their families by working in mining operations.  The cost to the families who burn coal in their homes and to the environment is great, as indicated in my interviews. Interestingly, only 1 of those 16 identified CO2 emissions associated with coal burning as being a contributing factor to climate change.

Again, it’s a complicated relationship and hopefully the 350.org campaign will heighten awareness of coal’s dark side and strengthen support for more environmentally friendly alternatives such as solar power and wind turbines. We have plenty of sun and wind in Arizona after all.”

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Jetsonorama. JC with Josey and their deaf dog (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Jetsonorama talks about this piece on a coal train abutment, “This installation is on an abutment that the coal train uses to transfer coal from the mine some 70 miles away to the coal burning plant in Page, Arizona.  I’d wanted to include an image of the coal train going over the abutment but missed the timing.  Of note, when the first images of the earth were beamed back from space in the 60s, the coal burning power plant on the Navajo Nation near Farmington, NM was one of the few man made things clearly identifiable by the large amount of pollution being emitted from it.  This is the Four Corners power plant which is on the Navajo Nation.” (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Jetsonorama and Birch Tattoo. Here is a Flagstaff collaboration with Rey Cantil who included text by U2 around the lump of coal. (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Jetsonorama poses JC at Red Lake with the moon. (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Jetsonorama uses repetition on the reservation with JC at Cow Springs. (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Jetsonorama. JC at Flagstaff. (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Jetsonorama. JC at Flagstaff. (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Jetsonorama says, “I had an opportunity to share with a young Navajo graphic design student the Brazilian lettering style Pichacao which he used on the 4th tank. This was done by Ryan Allison.” (photo © Jetsonorama)

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350.org will launch an international campaign on 09.24.11 to raise awareness on carbon emissions and climate change. To learn more about this project and become involved please visit the organization site:

http://www.350.org/

To learn more about Jetsonorama click on the link below:

http://www.speakingloudandsayingnothing.blogspot.com/