Free to the public
Marina Eskeets is a conceptual artist from Naná’áztiin, New Mexico (The Big Curve, NM, Navajo Nation). Eskeets earned a Bachelors in Fine Arts in 2016, with a major in Studio Arts at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where she was also a S.I.T.E. Scholar at S.I.T.E. Santa Fe. Her work is stimulated by her childhood herding her grandmothers’ sheep, in a region directly affected by the Church Rock uranium disaster. Eskeets work is centered on energy extraction within Dinétah and the repercussions it has had on Indigenous identity.
Eskeets employs a wide range of fine art and photography mediums and techniques to express her ideas. Her works have included: video projection onto a traditional Diné weaving loom, three-dimensional cardboard churro sheep skull masks used in an interactive performance in the downtown streets of Gallup, New Mexico, and embroidered illustrations onto deer skin.
Łee’tso Tó’lín | Uranium Water
United Nuclear Corporation was a uranium ore mine, conventional uranium mill site, ore processing mill, and tailing disposal area, located in Church Rock, New Mexico. On the morning of July 16, 1979, one of two mill tailing ponds breached, releasing 94 million gallons of acidic, radioactive tailing solution into the Rio Puerco River. The Navajo Nation requested it be declared a Federal Disaster Area, but the New Mexico Government denied their request. Three years later all facilities closed, the site was abandoned, and United Nuclear Corporation did not clean up the spill. It is recorded to be the second largest global release of radioactive material to date. The employees and residents indigenous to this area are Diné (Navajo). Marina presents the photographs of her homeland as negatives to highlight the invisible, tasteless radiation that is poisoning the soil, ground water, animals, and Diné who continue to reside next to the ruins of United Nuclear Corporation Mine, Kerr-McGee Quivira Mine Site, and Northeast Church Rock Mine, all of which extracted uranium ore in their homeland. According to the Diné, life is considerate of the livestock and growing food, both of which are practices extending from their culture. Forty years following the spill, there has been no reclamation, but interests to reopen the mines are strong, despite a ban by the Navajo Nation. Currently, fences split the land with signs that only permit authorized officials, and signs that read “NO TRESSPASSING”. There are various layers to the disruption of all life, with the concerns centered on water contamination, animal grazing, and health defects. Each image is composed with either a toxic chemical structure found in the water or common bodily organs that are affected. The work is a reflection of the environmental racism that targets Indigenous peoples and people of color globally.
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Contact: Sage Paisner
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