Renowned Navajo artist to speak at Utah Valley University

University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | 801-863-6863 |

Written by: Barbara Christiansen | 801-863-8208 |

The public is invited to a free presentation by internationally acclaimed photographer and painter Will Wilson from 7-7:50 p.m. on March 16 in the Science Building of Utah Valley University.

Wilson is a Diné (Navajo) artist and photographer who spent his childhood living in the Navajo Nation. His works focus strongly on environment and identity.

“We love his pieces. They are so fascinating,” said Courtney Davis, assistant professor of art history at UVU. “Auto Immune Response has gotten the most critical acclaim. We love that connection with his work.”

In the Auto Immune Response exhibit, Wilson offers a vision of what the future could include. One example is a traditional Navajo hogan with computers, wires and futuristic furnishings. Wilson also combined the present and potential future by constructing a steel hogan in Phoenix’s Heard Museum gallery, which he says transforms visitors from observers to participants.

Exhibition curator Joe Baker from the Heard Museum said Wilson portrays “the complex environmental and social issues that are a consequence of contemporary society.”

Wilson will set up a working portrait studio at UVU, and will take photos of students, artists, arts professionals and the general public. He will use an old fashioned, large format camera and the historic wet plate collodion process, which references a bygone era and historic images .He will give the photo’s subject the tintype produced, retaining non-exclusive rights to create images for his own artistic purposes.

In addition, Wilson will also conduct two workshops, one with UVU students and one with high school students.

Wilson studied photography at the university of New Mexico and has held visiting professorships at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Oberlin College, and the University of Arizona. He won the Native American Fine Art Fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum in 2007 and received a grant from the Joan Mitchell foundation in 2010. Part of the Science and Arts Research Collaborative, Wilson often explores the intersection of science and technology.

“I am so excited to have a Native American artist of such a caliber, somebody who can be such a leader,” Davis said.

More information is available from assistant professor of art education Lori Santos at lori.santos@uvu.eduor Davis at 

Fourth region (Section 1)