On April 14, 2020, a Huffington Post headline read, “Navajo Nation Reports More Coronavirus Cases per Capita Than All but 2 U.S. States: Only New York and New Jersey Have More Confirmed Infections per 100,000 people.” The last point is key, because testing on the Navajo Nation has not been as robust as for New York and New Jersey. Sadly, the rate of infection for the Navajo Nation will continue to increase, as will the mortality rate.
In light of the emergency on the Navajo Nation, several mutual-aid, grassroots organizations have formed to get supplies of food, water, personal hygiene items, and firewood to elders living remotely and to provide hand-washing stations for unsheltered relatives in Kinłani (Flagstaff, AZ). Though the reservation is rich in natural resources that have been and continue to be exploited (including coal, oil, natural gas, uranium, and water in aquifers), roughly 25 percent of the 180,000 inhabitants are without running water and another 20 percent are without electricity.
This poster is designed to inform the community of the public-health strategy to provide optimal health during this time and to support the work of Navajo Hopi Solidarity and Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual Aid. Additionally, this Diné COVID PSA is a collaboration with Shi Buddy, who provided the poster’s text, and grass dancer Ryan Pinto, who is pictured on the poster and who collaborated on the photograph’s production. Diné COVID PSA is part of a larger collaborative project that is currently underway with poets and visual artists—to drop soon.
Shout-out to Art Journal Open for the opportunity to spread the word and to all the people providing essential work during this time. Thank you. We see you and appreciate you.
The poster is presented in two versions: “Sepia” and “3-D.” Both are intended to be printed in color. The artist encourages you to print the posters in multiples, particularly if you choose to wheat paste the images.
Diné COVID PSA was created to share public-health information and to inspire collective participation in a visible act of solidarity. We encourage you to share the poster widely, repost it online, print it from your desktops, hang it on your walls, and put it in your windows.
Diné COVID PSA is the first in a series of artist projects responding to the limits that recent shelter-in-place orders have imposed on various forms of social and cultural interaction. The artists, designers, and creatives contributing to this series have challenged themselves to present work that invites the participation of the Art Journal Open community in varied, networked acts of creative expression and contemplation.
—Nicole Archer, Editor-in-Chief
Chip Thomas, aka jetsonorama, is a photographer, public artist, activist, and physician who has been working between Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon on the Navajo Nation since 1987. There, he coordinates the Painted Desert Project, a community-building effort that manifests as a constellation of murals across the Navajo Nation painted by artists from all over the rez and the world. These murals aim to reflect love and appreciation of the rich history shared by the Navajo people back to Navajo people. You can find his large-scale photographs pasted at the roadside, on the sides of houses in the northern Arizona desert, and on the graphics of the People’s Climate March, Justseeds, and the 350.org carbon-emissions campaign material.