WE ARE HUMAN / SOMOS HUMANOS
A Decade of Demonstrations from 2010 - 2019
Images of Public Protests & Photo Assemblages
Zoom Live Artist Talk: Wednesday December 9, 2020, 6-7pm
Virtual Exhibition Dec 9, 2020 - Feb 9, 2021
Zoom Link Here
This series is being developed for a 2021 book titled
Hard Living in the Big Easy:
Immigrants & Photography of Post-Katrina Protests
with a 2020 Documentary Award Grant from the
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation
WE ARE HUMAN / SOMOS HUMANOS
From 2010 to 2019, multidisciplinary award-winning artist José Torres-Tama photographed the many public protests of the Congress of Day Laborers / El Congreso de Jornaleros, and this virtual exhibition of 20 striking images from this decade-long documentation project chronicles the Latin American reconstruction workers who have rebuilt New Orleans in the 15 years post-Katrina. Immigrant workers have given their blood, labor, and love to the rebirth of this port city, and this series captures their street protests as resistance to rampant human rights violations, wage theft by ruthless contractors, and brutal deportations by local ICE Agents.
The recent 2018 Tricentennial anthology published by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) disappeared Latin immigrants from local history, and this series is a photographic exhibition of creative resistance to challenge a state arts agency that dares to culturally deport the most valuable contributors to the resurrection of the Big Easy.
These photos and photographic assemblages are Jose Torres-Tama’s creative responses to honor a heroic people in a city with a long Latin legacy, and challenge the brutal cultural deportation exacted in books such as New Orleans & the World: 1718 - 2018 published by the LEH. Immigrants have been rendered invisible in their version of this city’s three hundred Eurocentric years, and their anthology is being sold as the official chronicle of New Orleans history.
It's Executive Editor and Executive Publisher have committed an egregious cultural crime against our Latin American immigrant community, and during an era of raging anti-immigrant hysteria, the LEH and its editor have become white gatekeepers deciding who shall be remembered and who shall be forgotten. Deporting our immigrant community from the history of New Orleans is simply inhumane, and they need to re-brand themselves as the Louisiana Endowment for the Inhumanities. --José Torres-Tama.
Some images are developed into mixed media assemblages or Photo Retablos created from re-purposed wooden drawers found on the streets after the storm. The artist has created mini altars with these photo assemblages to honor the valiant and heroic work of the Congress of Day Laborers and their children, who are bearing witness to the persecution of their 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 face a clear and present danger of brutal deportations with a hostile White House administration pimping fear and anti-immigrant hysteria.
Jose Torres-Tama, photographer and performance artist, will offer an Artist Talk about the photo series at 6pm on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, and will include a mini-performance tribute to the Latin American immigrant community and Congress of Day Laborers that are the inspiration of this ten-year photo documentation project.
Click on Image Below to activate the Zoom Link