All posts tagged: Navajo

Owen Dreams Of Atomic Sheep, Jetsonorama and Uranium

A New York Times article a couple of weeks ago about abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation reported about 638 uranium mines that were active on the Navajo Nation from the 1940s to the 1980s.  Street Artist Jetsonorama writes to say that “Fewer than 10% of the mines have been capped and contained and, as a consequence, uranium tailings circulate with wind and have contaminated ground water supplies affecting livestock and humans. The rates of liver, bone, breast and lung cancer are high on the rez.”  The Times article quotes Doug Brugge, a public health professor at Tufts University medical school and an expert on uranium, “If this level of radioactivity were found in a middle-class suburb, the response would be immediate and aggressive.”


Jetsonorma “Owen Dreams of Atomic Sheep” Flagstaff, AZ (photo © Jetsonorama)

According to The Guardian this year, “In the final years of the George Bush presidency, when uranium prices were rising worldwide, mining companies filed thousands of new claims in northern Arizona, on lands near the Grand Canyon. They also proposed reopening old mines adjacent to the canyon.”

As recently as this January, the Obama Administration acted to protect a 1-million acre area around the Grand Canyon from uranium mining with a 20-year ban, despite pressure from mining advocates. But that won’t prevent the current requests on record to mine the area from progressing.

Wanting to draw attention to this situation, artist Jetsonorama did this installation in Flagstaff, AZ over the weekend called “Owen Dreams of Atomic Sheep,” and one called “JC at the Reservation”. With infants as their spokespeople these new pieces on water storage containers spotlight the next generation, the inheritors of whatever we decide to do with the earth and it’s resources. American Indian tribes in the region — Havasupai, Hualapai, Kaibab-Paiute, Navajo and Hopi — have banned uranium mining on their lands, according to the Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club, and it makes you wonder if environmental defense will become the preeminent issue that this generation will seize as their own.

Jetsonorma “Owen Dreams of Atomic Sheep” Flagstaff, AZ (photo © Jetsonorama)

JC in C0w Springs. (photo © Jetsonorama)

JC in Cow Springs. (photo © Jetsonorama)



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Yote, Jetsonorama and Joerael: Fertility on the Range in AZ


Street Artists in sunny Gray Mountain, Arizona took a trip to the Navajo Reservation this weekend to hit one of their favorite abandoned sites. The juxtaposition of their work on the storage tanks as sculptures against the AZ sky somehow makes their impact profound.  Add to this the fact that the three hadn’t realized their individual pieces would all carry a central theme of fertility until installing them, and the site could take on a mystic quality. Or maybe they were just freaking themselves out chewing on some peyote.


The unplanned coincidence began to take on an added dimension as Joerael worked on his fertility medicine man character and Jetsonorama installed the mother and child image. Yote’s rabbit, a traditional symbol of fertility, and ear of corn, a symbol of harvest, finished the theme.  Whether the theme arose from the land or from like minds, this co-incidental installation is further evidence of the fertile soil that the current street art crop is planted in.




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