October 01, 2011

Jetsonorama's Navajo coal art

Navajo Street Art in the Shadow of Dirty CoalStreet artist Jetsonorama has created haunting images of a Navajo baby menaced by a piece of coal—a metaphoric black cloud hanging over her head—for the Climate Street Art project by 350.org raising awareness of the harmful effects of CO2 emissions. In researching the Navajo Nation’s relationship with coal, he conducted informal interviews with 15 Navajo Nation residents, simply asking them what comes to mind when they think of the word “coal.”

“If the Navajo people and coal were to declare their relationship status on Facebook, they’d have to chose the ‘it’s complicated’ option,” he writes on his blog, speakingloudandsayingnothing.blogspot.com. “Everyone in my small sample identified respiratory problems associated with burning coal in the home. Everyone acknowledged that the coal mined on the reservation is used to generate energy off the reservation for surrounding megalopolises such as Denver, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las Vegas and L.A. They found this arrangement to be problematic. It should be noted that the Navajo Nation has the largest coal mining operation in the southwest and one of the largest operations in the world.”
Comment:  Now that's good street art. Because it looks so ominous, it's hard to ignore. It almost compels you to learn more, to find out what it means.

The only question is why it appears to be hanging in a nondescript alley. Ideally it should be displayed as prominently as possible.

For more on Native-themed street art, see Lakota Photo Mural in NYC and Billboard Advocate Seeks Donations.

Below:  Behind Tat-Fu in Flagstaff, AZ.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

in response to the question of why the piece isn't displayed more prominently, the image you ran is one of 14 installations i did with this image. it was one of 3 installations i did in flagstaff; the other two are displayed in areas that get a large amount of traffic. however, the image in the location you ran gets lots of foot traffic. the point was to get people's attention and direct them to the 350.org site. i think that's been happening.