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Chip Thomas tells Navajo’s history through street art

Courtesy: Instagram/@Jetsonorama

Streetwear
19 May 20

Chip Thomas tells Navajo’s history through street art

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Chip Thomas’ work seeks to give visibility of Navajo’s inhabitants and their history

Chip Thomas, also known as Jetsonorama, has artwork that runs from Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon, where he began his work since 1987 as a photographer, public artist, activist, and physician. It is in Navajo that he promoted his Painted Desert project, an initiative that seeks community cohesion through street art.

Chip Thomas, the activist who tells Navajo's stories
Courtesy: @Jetsonorama

Furthermore, it’s important to talk about these efforts that sprung when Thomas arrived to Diné Nation to change the quality of life of its inhabitants thanks to his work as a doctor for the National Health Service Corps and his efforts to improve the medical service in the region.

Chip Thomas, the activist who tells Navajo's stories
Courtesy: @Jetsonorama

Additionally, his public art installations remind us that art has the power to call to action and create an impact on the viewer. His artworks can be seen from roadsides throughout the region and tell its rich and complex history.

Chip Thomas, the activist who tells Navajo's stories
Courtesy: @Jetsonorama


Jetsonorama collaborates with urban artists to capture Navajo stories

The 62-year-old artist and activist collaborated with international artists on the Painted Desert program to expose some of his concerns regarding his community. For example, north of Flagstaff, he intervened an abandoned building with a piece to address the effects of uranium extraction.

Chip Thomas, the activist who tells Navajo's stories
Courtesy: @Jetsonorama

The facade features black and white photos of sheep; the interior walls glow with images of corn highlighted with neon green paint. Several miles later, you’ll find large-scale black-and-white photos and a series of vibrant murals that transform the walls and fuel tanks of an abandoned service station.

Chip Thomas, the activist who tells Navajo's stories
Courtesy: @Jetsonorama

Moreover, a few kilometers further north, on the east side of the road, is a mural of an old man from Navajo that alludes to the longevity of its inhabitants. In this regard, the artist says “I try to use my art to tell stories, to share the humanity that is here. So when visitors come they will have a broader and deeper view of the essence of their inhabitants.”

Chip Thomas, the activist who tells Navajo's stories
Courtesy: Instagram/@Jetsonorama

In addition, Chip says that “being here has given me the time and space to pursue all my interests and curiosity.” Best of all, he still practices family medicine four days a week at the Inscription House Health Center.

Jetsonorama, the activist who tells Navajo stories
Courtesy: @Jetsonorama

It is worth noting that his work was influenced by the New York hip-hop and graffiti scene of the early 1980s. Finally, we leave you with some images of this urban art veteran and invite you to get to know more of his work through his social networks.

Jetsonorama, the activist who tells Navajo stories
Courtesy: Instagram/@Jetsonorama

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

https://www.allcitycanvas.com/en/author/fernandohcruz/
escrito por Fernando Huacuz
Ciudad de México, 1988- En búsqueda constante de urdimbres visuales y narrativas en espacios públicos y privados. Arte, cultura y rocksteady un must.
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