Struggle and Hope: A Look at Who Harvests the Food We All Eat
Trabajamos/We Work: In the Fields of the North | Photographs by David Bacon
Exhibition: January 24 – April 11, 2017, Opening Reception: Thursday, February 2, 2017, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Photograph above by David Bacon
Riverside CA – The Riverside Art Museum (RAM) proudly presents Trabajamos/We Work: In the Fields of the North | Photographs by David Bacon, running January 24 – April 11, 2017, with a free, open-to-the-public Opening Reception on Thursday, February 2, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. This exhibition is generously supported by the Riverside Latino Network and Altura Credit Union.
“We are extremely grateful for the support of our exhibition sponsors who made Trabajamos possible,” says RAM Executive Director Drew Oberjuerge, “but a special thank you goes out to the Riverside Latino Network for bringing David and his work to our attention. It is a great partnership and we believe we will receive a great community turnout for this. This exhibition is part of our longer-term plan to broaden community participation in the museum.”
Up and down the Pacific Coast, the communities of indigenous migrants who harvest our food have been rising in protest, organizing strikes from Baja California to Washington State. Their wages have been cut and these workers are living in desperate conditions – sometimes even outside in tents and cars.
Farm workers are among California’s poorest residents. A third make less than minimum wage. In San Diego, Santa Rosa, Coachella, and Salinas, migrants sleep in shacks or tents under trees, or crowd ten to a room in trailer parks. Rural homelessness and poverty are widespread, but invisible. This project, In the Fields of the North, makes them visible, demonstrating who is responsible for producing the food we all eat and showing that social justice problems are suffered in common by both urban and rural communities.
In the Fields of the North builds on a long-term partnership between David Bacon, a photographer and journalist, and California’s legal aid service for farm workers, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), and a leading organization of indigenous migrants, Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB).
The project’s mission is to use photographs and narrative oral histories to reduce anti-immigrant hysteria. Its purpose is to help win respect for the culture and labor of the indigenous workers who produce the food we eat, providing a way for people in urban areas especially, to whom migrant indigenous workers are basically invisible, to understand their reality.
Over the span of 15 years, the project has produced over 10,000 digital images and recorded over 100 interviews. They have been used by FIOB and CRLA to advocate for the rights of migrants and farm workers. They have been published in three books by David Bacon and used in many newspaper and magazine articles.
The project has produced traveling exhibitions of photographs and oral history panels, using them as venues in which migrant community members can discuss their experiences and problems, and in which urban and rural activists can exchange experiences and organize for social justice.
“David Bacon’s photographs capture California farm workers with such eloquent simplicity,” says Todd Wingate, RAM’s Curator of Exhibitions and Collections. “His images and stories convey a moving portrait of their lives and will deepen our understanding and help many to see with new eyes.”
David Bacon’s images of farm workers are a striking revelation of the labor necessary to put food on America’s tables. Black and white images provide a glimpse into the lives of those who work in the fields and capture both the struggle and the hope of their existence.
Bacon is a journalist and photographer whose work has documented the connections between labor, immigration, and the impact of the global economy on workers. In addition to exhibitions across the United States, his work has also appeared in The Nation, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Please join us for the Opening Reception on Thursday, February 2, 2017, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. It is free and open to the public, occurring during the monthly Riverside Artswalk. This evening will also host the Opening Receptions for Papel Chicano Dos: Works on Paper | From the Collection of Cheech Marin and the Community Altar Project with Cynthia Huerta. Be sure to get here early as the Riverside Art Museum’s Buildings and Grounds Committee will be holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony and other festivities, presided over by Councilman Gardner, on the rooftop from 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. We will be celebrating the completion of our rooftop shade sail project.
Additional exhibit-related programming will be announced on our website and social media channels.
The Riverside Art Museum integrates art into the lives of people in a way that engages, inspires, and builds community by providing high quality exhibits and art education programs that instill a lifelong love of the arts. RAM relies on the generosity of members and donors to support its exhibitions, education programs, and special events. For more information about this event and more, visit www.riversideartmuseum.org
Sponsored by: Altura Credit Union | Riverside Latino Network