DOCUMENTING THE UNDOCUMENTED: Photo Assemblages / Retablos in Conjunction with PhotoNOLA 2023
WHEN: Closing Event Saturday, January 13, 2023 Opening from 5 - 9 p.m. Free and Open to the Public
WHERE: ArteFuturo Productions Torres-Tama Studio 1329 Saint Roch Avenue
Artist’s Talk @ 7pm On Saturday, January 13, 2024, the artist will offer a talk on the series. Wine will be served to the public in attendance.
Award-winning interdisciplinary artist José Torres-Tama is exhibiting a new series of Photo Assemblages / Retablos titled DOCUMENTING THE UNDOCUMENTED, in conjunction with PhotoNOLA 2023.
For the past decade from 2010 to 2019, I have focused my digital lens on “documenting the undocumented” Latin American immigrants and their families, who have made vital contributions to the epic rebirth of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina (2005) & post-Ida (2021).
My aim is to chronicle the lives of immigrants and raise them to heroic heights for the city’s rebirth. The photos I have captured have also inspired a variety of large works-on-paper. --JTT
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina (2005) and recent Hurricane Ida (2001), it was Latin American immigrant workers, who were on construction sites and rooftops across New Orleans repairing the many damaged churches, schools, houses, and official buildings. As an Ecuadorian-born immigrant himself, Torres-Tama has been documenting their heroic rebuilding efforts and chronicling the public protests of the many “undocumented" immigrants facing labor abuses, wage theft, and brutal deportations because of the tenuous status of many.
Torres-Tama is opening his home art studio to exhibit a selection of this series and the large works-on-paper that these many photos have inspired.
ArteFuturo Productions Torres-Tama Studio 1329 Saint Roch Avenue, (three blocks off St. Claude in the heart of the alternative arts district).
Exhibit opens on Sat, Jan 13, 2024 from 5-9pm. Other times by appointment only, call 504.232.2968.
Immigrant workers have given their blood, labor, and love to the resurrection of this port city, and this photo documentation series captures their "live art" street protests and collective acts of civil disobedience to expose rampant human rights violations by NOPD, wage theft by ruthless contractors, and brutal deportations by local ICE Agents.
Some images are developed into mixed media Photo Assemblages or Retablos created from re-purposed wooden drawers found on the streets after Hurricane Katrina.
The artist has created these mini altars or "retablos" with these photo assemblages to honor the valiant and heroic work of the Latin American immigrant reconstruction workers and their US-born children, who have been witnesses to the persecution of their undocumented parents.
A moving second-hand clock is placed at various points of each photo image, representing the beating heart of immigrants working in the shadows.
Latin American immigrants in New Orleans still face a clear and present danger, and for years, they have experienced untold traumas with a hostile White House administration that declared them "criminals of the state".