We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

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

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Worker's Rug: Fine Art From Day Labor

by RH Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM

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 Educacin 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

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

FARCELONA 8.17.2017 J17 3:23PM

DEAD MAN LIVING J17 10:46AM

DIARY OF A CON MAN J16 10:40PM

PR Debt Cancel, Judge Reviews Cofina Debt J16 9:04PM

Réseautage, fragmentation du capital J16 4:20PM

Paraphysique de manipulation mentale et sociale J15 9:51AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

Markets as a Fetish, Globalization, and Dissent Management J14 1:03PM

State Debts - The Primal German Fear J13 5:09PM

Sans liberté, sans égalité, sans fraternité J13 8:09AM

From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump - and Beyond J12 9:22PM

Copper Cures Cancer J11 1:42PM

Steven Taylor, Investor who Evicts J11 9:24AM

Du sectarisme, des sectes, des clans J11 8:10AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J10 6:34PM

Patrick Kilpatrick discusses and signs Dying for Living J09 11:51PM

SexActs vs Sexuality USA 2018 Invitations to Power Marriages without Affection J09 8:36PM

Changer de mentalité, changer de société J09 9:17AM

Teacher Strike? Time for Labor Studies J09 6:26AM

December 2018 Honduras Coup Update J08 10:12PM

Paraphysique de la désespérance J07 9:38AM

The Unification Church with Rev Moon is in La and Orange Counnties J07 9:07AM

Time to Start Imagineering a Post-Ayatollah Iran J05 10:00PM

L'écomorphisme, du culturel et du temporel J05 10:33AM

Sexual Harassment Charges of Men Suing Women who are accused of Harassing Men are now 10% J05 4:08AM

Stases psychiques et stases sexuelles J04 11:34AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 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