2018 Viola Award Finalist for Innovation
Hope and Trauma in a Poisoned Land explored the impact of uranium mining on Navajo lands and people. The art exhibition featured work by twenty local and regional artists, including Navajo and non-Native artists. The exhibition was open August 15 – October 28, 2017, at the Coconino Center for the Arts.
The Project Director was Ann Collier, and Project Consultant Davona Blackhorse. The curators for the exhibition were Shawn Skabelund and Travis Iurato. They planned and developed the four-day training program for participating artists, which took the group to Cameron to hear from Navajo community members and see abandoned uranium mines.
Through the participating artists, Hope and Trauma shared 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 was 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 the 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.