The Arts Council commissioned artist Chip Thomas to create a mural in downtown Phoenix to bring attention to the upcoming exhibition, Hope and Trauma in a Poisoned Land. The mural was completed by Thomas last weekend and already has garnered interest in the community, with Phoenix New Times publishing an article on the home page of their website about the new work of public art.

The mural is set on the EyeLounge wall, visible on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix for August and September.

Chip Thomas mural in downtown Phoenix

The Arts Council received a grant award from the National Endowment for the Arts for Hope and Trauma in a Poisoned Land which provided the funding for the mural. The aim was to reach audiences in the Valley, especially around First Fridays. Rather than use traditional media and advertisements, the decision was made to hire a local artist to create a mural on a billboard or prominent wall. Given that Thomas was already a participating artist in Hope and Trauma, and also a muralist of considerable renown, this opportunity had perfect synergy.

Learn more about Chip Thomas and his murals on his website >

Hope and Trauma in a Poisoned Land will explore the impact of uranium mining on Navajo lands and people. The art exhibition will feature work by more than two dozen artists, including Navajo and Native artists. The show opens with a Member Preview on Saturday, August 12, 6-8pm. It will be open to the public August 15 – October 28, 2017.

Through the participating artists, Hope and Trauma will share stories and perspectives from Navajo people of their experiences due to radiation-related impacts to their bodies, their land, their water, their animals, and the natural materials and objects they use in their everyday lives. Art work will be based on a series of interactions, shared stories, and educational programs that took place in Cameron, Arizona, and in Flagstaff, in October 2016. Artists attended a four-day intensive education program which immersed them in the landscape where uranium mining and contamination has occurred on the Navajo Nation. They learned from Navajo community members, scientists, health care professionals, mental health professionals, and other experts about the impacts of uranium mining.

Hope and Trauma will feature several educational events to be scheduled during the run of the exhibition. Visit the exhibition page for the full schedule.

Chip Thomas in front of the mural – photo courtesy Phoenix New Times, Lynn Trimble