Douglas Tolman works to create a sense of place and connection to the community in their state of Utah by reframing historical narratives.
Douglas Tolman (he/they) is an interdisciplinary artist primarily working in rural Utah. They believe a sense of place and connection to community are the strongest tools we have for fixing the many socio-ecological problems in the Mountain States. As an artist, educator, pioneer descendent, and visitor on stolen land, they hope to facilitate a sense of place within the community by reframing historical narratives and promoting civic participation in the places we call home.
“Six months ago, I relocated from Salt Lake City to Green River, Utah on a volunteer contract. This is a real boom-and-bust town, known for its defunct missile base, melon fields, slot canyons, uranium tailings, and prospects of a nuclear reactor. Much of my extended family were the first white settlers in this area, and moving here to do volunteer work has been an effort to facilitate equity and sustainability in a place where my ancestors once did the opposite. Because of my family history, I know I will always be a visitor on this land. Because of my “urban” appearance, I will always look like a visitor to the religious conservatives in town.
During some evenings I’ve visited the defunct Green River Launch Complex, which launched test missiles into White Sands Missile Range during the Cold War. I revisit these structures with a camera and artificial lighting, reanimating them into uncanny scenes which shed light on decades of violence against the land and its people.”
Green River, UT | douglastolman.com