Friday, October 7 | 6:30–8 pm | FREE
Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Also available via livestream
Registration not required
*Attendees are invited to visit the Air exhibition and see Wilson's work before the talk. Visitors will be admitted into the galleries for free from 5 pm until the talk begins. When the talk starts, the galleries are closed.*
Diné artist Will Wilson will discuss his ongoing photographic survey of the people, land, and remediation efforts connected to over 500 abandoned uranium mines that are contaminating the Navajo Nation, where Wilson grew up and where his family lives today. Historically, Euro-American landscape photography has represented the American West as vast, uninhabited, and full of resources for capital gain, but Wilson’s photography counters that problematic myth and, in his words, empowers “Diné people to re-story their narrative.”
See his work on view now in Air. In addition to his photographs, Wilson has installed his AIR Lab, a post-apocalyptic take on the sacred Diné dwelling, the hogan. Wilson collaborated with the University of Utah’s Red Butte Gardens to turn his steel hogan into a greenhouse for growing the Four Corners potato and plant species that remove heavy metals and toxins from the soil.
Who is Will Wilson?
Wilson is a Diné (Navajo) photographer and trans-customary artist (crossing boundaries between traditional and non-traditional art) who spent his formative years living on the Navajo Nation. Wilson’s art projects center around the continuation and transformation of customary Indigenous cultural practice. Since 2005, Wilson’s artwork series Auto Immune Response has been exploring indigenous food, dye, and pollinator species with this greenhouse post-apocalyptic take on the sacred Diné dwelling, the hogan. It takes as its subject the “quixotic relationship between a post-apocalyptic Diné man and the devastatingly beautiful, but toxic environment he inhabits,” according to Wilson.
Learn more about Wilson's work here.
Will Wilson, Diné, born 1969, lives Santa Fe, NM, Mexican Hat Disposal Cell, Triptych, Halchita, Utah, Navajo Nation, 2019, archival pigment prints, purchased with funds from The Phyllis Cannon Wattis Endowment Fund, UMFA2022.8.3A-C
AIR Lab Partner: Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah generously provided the plants and the expertise necessary to realize this iteration of Will Wilson’s AIR Lab.