imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - json version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

The Worker's Rug: Fine Art From Day Labor

by RH Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 at 10:10 AM

The Workers' Rug/La Alfombra Del Trabajador is an art done by day laborers, organizers affiliated with IDEPSCA, artist Katie Bachler and Jade Thacker, and the Craft and Folk Art Museum.



It's just a rug.
It hangs on the wall.
It's just a rug.
It was made by hand. It hangs on the wall.
It's just a rug.
Day laborers made it by hand and now it hangs on the wall.
It's just a rug.
Day laborers tore clothing by hand to make braids that they fashioned into the rug that hangs on the wall.
It's just a rug.
Day laborers worked in the clothes that they tore into rags and braided together to make the rug that hangs on the wall.
It's just a rug.
Two artists facilitated day laborers to tear their old work clothes into rags, braiding them together to make a rug that now hangs on the wall.
It's just a rug.
Two artists and a group of day laborers sat around and told stories about the work they did as they tore old work clothing into rags, which they braided together into a rug, which now hangs on the wall.
It's just a rug.
There was a lot of work put into that rug.

"I work as a roofer, roof-making/with my cap I've worked on many roofs. Two months ago, I fractured a finger at work/the last time I used it while working. I had had it for a year. I am now ready to disassemble it. I've been doing this job for 37 years."

The Workers' Rug/La Alfombra Del Trabajador is an art done by day laborers, organizers affiliated with IDEPSCA, artist Katie Bachler and Jade Thacker, and the Craft and Folk Art Museum.

Bachler and Thacker wanted to use a rug as a space for social sculpture and call it the Roving Rag Rug. They acquired and programmed it into the Collective Show back in 2011. Later, they put out collection boxes for worn clothes around East and North East LA. They'd hoped to weave this stuff into there own rug. "Roving Rag Rug" contained in it a contradiction that became clear for the artists sorting through the donations. While the rug might "rove," each piece of clothes contained traces of the particular life that had just habituated it. The tension between a generic free space rug, and one sited to a particular working body was settled with Heidi Zeller. She showed up at one of the artists' rug weaving sessions. Zeller is the director of the Craft And Folk Art Musuem's Folk Art Everywhere project, which aims to bring folk art everywhere. Heidi helped connect the artists to IDEPSCA (Sonny Abegaze now leads the project for CAFAM.)

Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California is a non-profit with a mission to "create a more humane and democratic society by responding to the needs and problems of disenfranchised people through leadership development and educational programs." IDEPSCA organizes house workers, unloaders, landscapers, gardeners, care workers, and construction workers - all day laborers- through five locations in L.A. County. They provide services, advocacy, and job opportunities. Pedro Joel is an organizer there and is probably key to the Workers' Rug successful collaboration. He organizes VozMob. It is an award-winning platform and tool for empowerment, developed through IDEPSCA. Workers use cell phones to take photos, videos, and write short stories about the conditions of their labor. Joel says that the platform is a "tool to counteract the negative stories about immigrant workers online." Because IDEPSCA has this project encouraging workers to discuss their experiences, Bachler and Thacker's invitation to share stories was not at all unfamiliar there.

"I am Ricardo Rodriques, blue-collar worker from IDEPSCA's downtown worker's center. In a T-Shirt, I loaded and unloaded trailers and diverse jobs, painting, laborious jobs, very difficult tasks. Searching for the American Dream."

Next door is a church holding some kind of event. There is music and preaching in Spanish. Little girls in frilly pastel dresses crowd the sidewalk outside asking parents for sweets and tacos sold by vendors. I am here two-floors up in a room at the downtown workers' center to celebrate the Workers' Rug. On the wall outside this room is an image of Malcolm X. In here are photos of laborers rending garments, and there is the rug itself. The group filling the little room is large, mixed ages and nationalities. In a sharing-circle the artists describe making the rug: the joy of their fellow workers- tearing old clothes, t-shirts, jackets, baseball hats- laughing and crying through stories of work.


Katie said: Objects exist in the world. The rug is an object but it is stories. People might look at it and not know what ideas, feelings, and pain are interwoven in it.

A man named Chrispin said: Thank you for putting the Workers' Rug together. It is a good thing that we are all here together sharing info with friends and family.

Jade said: I've learned (through this project) how to be inclusive of others' community. We went to the Craft and Folk Art Museum with IDEPSCA's workers. A worker wanted a bilingual tour there, which hadn't been done before. I realized the limited possibility of art if it isn't able to be accessed by all people. (The museum has offered these tours since.)

A woman named Madelou said: I asked my neighbor to borrow strings. He makes dresses downtown here. I made dresses when I lived in Mexico City. I've been here 16 years. I started braiding and started thinking about this- does this (distance) cause pain? I don't have a desire to go back, even to be buried. I am not going anywhere. If they send me back, I don't know how, but I will come back here. I am convinced that one is from where one stays, not where they are born. Keep working and contributing despite circumstances, so this house becomes even better.


"This garment has been used in many construction jobs. It has worked so hard that is worn out. Today it will be donated to the rug as a historical remembrance."

I went to the UCLA Labor Center, located by Macarthur Park. It was an opening for an exhibition called Manos A La Obra. Juan Sontay is among the immigrant IDEPSCA workers whose art is there. His photos are of day laborers standing around waiting for work. I am familiar with this view, but Sontay's picture represents something that I never see. That is what he sees, standing behind these workers, looking at them, while he waits for people like me to arrive to give him work.

A piece of agit-prop theater was also performed for the large audience. Maria Sabra starred as Jesusita, a maid. With my broken Spanish, I was able to glean the story and some plot points. Maria labored in Beverly Hills. She worked many hours, and was given left over egg yolks to eat, or nothing else. At times, she was only allowed four hours to sleep. For a forty-hour work-week, with no overtime, she was paid $200.00. She couldn't quit because she needed the money, and her boss threatened to call INS. Though Maria played Jesusita, her story was actually that of another worker there that night. So it was fitting that the play ended with a well received call for people to participate in a rally for home-workers rights in Sacramento, scheduled for the 21st of August.

I asked IDEPSCA organizer Pedro Joel what he thought about the collaboration between the trained Anglo artists and the immigrants. Joel felt the artists were doing "healing work," facilitating a cathartic moment; ripping tired work clothes and braiding it whole. I asked about the exchange between the two supposedly divergent groups, he said: " You are talking about high art versus low art. At IDEPSCA it's about the message. The rug is about the human experience. When humans come together they become collective."


In Europe, there is an emerging movement to address the needs of precarious workers; specifically for those in the emerging "creative class," and those in the shadow economy of immigrant labor. Neither Bachler nor Thacker were paid for all their time - nor were the day laborers. Though language and background may divide, significant work went into weaving the rug here.
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

MDRC's Rent Reform Assault: Section 8 tenants vs. affordable housing industry J24 12:24AM

Obama at LA Trade Tech J23 3:23PM

Los Angeles Joins World Wide Protest Against Israeli Aggression J22 6:33PM

Los Angeles Joins World Wide Protest Against Israeli Aggression J22 5:48PM

Los Angeles Joins World Wide Protest Against Israeli Aggression J22 5:28PM

Protest Israeli Shelling of Gaza J21 1:58AM

#SaveTheInternet Rally J20 11:24AM

PACIFICA is shify-ing more J18 8:55PM

Radical Women Study Group J16 4:43PM

KIDS REPLANT WILSHIRE FRUIT TREES UPROOTED BY VANDALS J16 2:34PM

Emails Needed by Thursday, July 17 to Save the South Central Farm (Again) J15 4:40PM

Is AFT Pres Weingarten On The Take? J12 7:45AM

LA Living in Vehicle Law Found UnConstitutional J11 12:22PM

KPFK News covers the Che Cafe struggle J10 9:33PM

Public Comment on South Central Farm Site J07 10:44PM

Successful Protest at new Burbank Hobby Lobby on 4th J06 5:17PM

Protesters Violently Arrested in Murietta J05 12:44AM

Gallery Opening Highlights Journalist’s Creativity, Insights, and Passions J03 11:52AM

Indymedia On Air - Che Cafe show J02 10:27AM

Save the Che: Letter from Zack de la Rocha J29 8:47PM

Political Thriller Citizen Koch Premieres in Los Angeles J28 2:35AM

Veteran and Families of Military hold Press Conference J18 7:36AM

Furious Homeowners Occupy Lobby of Fannie Mae in Pasadena J16 4:15AM

Change Links Revival J12 12:09PM

Election Day with Occupy Los Angeles: Know Your Rights Juror Education Rally J05 9:39PM

United We Stand Festival Ignites a Wave of Action for Indy Journalists and Active Citizens J05 7:36PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Pacifica clearly endangered. Reposting info here: J28 2:34PM

Paraphysique de la violence J28 9:49AM

Video: Occupy Love (2013), 1 hr 19 min J28 4:43AM

Philippine President told: Re-energize the campaign for reforms J28 3:23AM

Panthers in the Hole: French Angola 3 Book Illustrates US Prison Crisis J27 12:13PM

¡Abajo las nuevas exacciones criminales de Israel! J27 11:41AM

Who declares themselves to be the ultimate-only-valid-authority here on current wars elsew J27 11:11AM

looks ok to me... J27 10:32AM

Down with the latest criminal abuses by the Israeli State! J27 10:21AM

THE BOOK OF JOSHUA | ZIONAZIS J26 9:52PM

Video: Left Forum on Thomas Paine 1 hr, 23 min J26 4:21PM

Surpopulation et paupérisation J26 9:13AM

AVAAZ_GAZA_war crimes J26 8:07AM

Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization (IPSO) Struggles for Peace J26 8:02AM

Snake Valley Festival in Baker NV fights SNWA ‘Water Grab’ J26 6:59AM

Nuclear Bomb LA 1983, Revelations tortured Witness Recovers from 14 year coma J25 7:52PM

The Shortwave Report 07/25/14 Listen Globally! J24 5:00PM

Come for the education, Stay for the fun at the OC Health & Wellness Fair J23 10:59PM

Philippine president signs law requiring tobacco companies to put graphic health warnings J23 3:55AM

Rockets found in Gaza school J22 10:57PM

Statement on the Gaza Genocide J22 8:32PM

Capitalism and War: Pope Francis J22 4:18AM

Geekouts Link's for June and July 2014 J22 1:14AM

ADI holds Week of Action Against Circus Suffering J21 11:41AM

phantom protests J21 7:35AM

Précis de la tyrannie ou les 64 bourgeoisies J21 3:32AM

The Abiding Economics of John Kenneth Galbraith J19 3:19PM

The Word J18 1:12PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy