Patrick Nagatani

(Chicago, Illinois, 1945 - October 27, 2017)

Kweo/Wolf Kachina, United Nuclear Corporation Uranium Tailings Spill

From the series "Nuclear Enchantment"


Ilfocolor print

20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61.0 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of George Stephanopoulos


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The Rio Puerco, which stretches from western New Mexico to eastern Arizona, carries water contaminated with radioactivity 10 to 100 times the maximum acceptable level. Nagatani pasted a photograph of a dancer costumed as Kweo, or the Wolf Kachina (a spirit in the Hopi religion revered for his hunting prowess), on his photograph of the river. Behind the dancer are images of toy sheep, seemingly dead; the river is the only water for them to drink. “Studies say it’s just about OK to drink the water, which means not to touch it,” mused Nagatani.

United States
Native American