Throughout the Navajo land in Arizona, Chip Thomas has created the Painted Desert Project which is made up of murals on abandoned buildings that celebrate the local people and culture as well as critiquing the social injustices that commonly plague the Navajo region. One of those injustices is the controversial Escalade project which proposes building a tramway, restaurant, and amphitheater at the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado rivers in the Grand Canyon. The significance of this geographical area cannot be understated as it is a sacred place central to native origin stories. In this mural by Thomas the background is a gorgeous photograph of the canyon with Jason Nez, an activist fighting against the development, standing at the rim looking over the sacred site. The black and white scene is overlaid by a colorful tramway giving the whole mural a rambunctious amusement park feel. Thomas has created a haunting amalgamation enveloped with the possibilities of what this place is now and what may be in the future if corporate interests win this fight.
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