Will Wilson, Mexican Hat Disposal Cell, Mexican Hat, Utah

Will Wilson, Auto Immune Response, Mexican Hat Disposal Cell, Mexican Hat, Utah, 2019

Will Wilson
born 1969 San Francisco, CA, lives Santa Fe, New Mexico
Mexican Hat Disposal Cell, Mexican Hat, Utah
archival pigment print
24 x 36 in.
lent by the artist, © 2020 Will Wilson

Mexican Hat is just south of Monument Valley in Utah. Dinė people have lived in this region for a long time, and the area is known for its incredible landscape of buttes and mesas. Lifeways changed in the village after uranium was discovered and many men went to work underground. After the mine closed, the land was abandoned by the company and residual contaminated material like tailings was left behind. Eventually, the problem was mitigated, at least for a while, by burying the tailings in gravel so the dust could not blow them around.

Will Wilson created this aerial landscape of Mexican Hat's nuclear waste by flying a drone 1,000 feet above the community. The photographs show that the village is located literally a stone's throw away from the toxic site. And Monument Valley is barely visible on the horizon.