imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
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 - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

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

Stop Circus Animal Suffering – Protestors Urge Audiences to Shun the Wild Animal Circus S07 5:57PM

Nuclear Shudown News Aufust 2016 A30 3:46PM

WIKIpedia is not what we readers Thought nor is it even current about Pacifica or KPFK A24 3:10PM

"KPFK has a $500,000 deficit “ !! Can this be true? A19 6:10AM

Nuclear Shutdown News July 2016 A01 1:36PM

A 99-page report "Election fraud" from Election Justice USA A01 4:14AM

INDY's KPFK radio program being eliminated ? too ? J10 4:57PM

Bertolt Brecht Testifies Before the House Un-American Activities Committee (1947) 2 min J02 3:04PM

Pacifica-KPFK Archives, director resignation J18 4:50PM

SAVE KPFK & PACIFICA: VOTE IN THIS CRUCIAL ELECTION! J18 3:39PM

KPFK radio elections for LSB coming Quick ! J18 1:05PM

KPFK Local Station Board Elections In-Progress J13 11:31AM

Black Lives Matter Activist Jasmine Abdullah Sentenced Three Months in Jail on Attempted Lynching Charge J09 2:08AM

Why are the Park Rangers making it even more difficult for the homeless in Los Angeles? J04 3:11PM

Bernie Sanders in Lincoln Heights M23 8:23PM

Los Angeles Sit-In to Fight Voter Suppression M18 4:28AM

War Within California's 46th CD M13 11:42AM

NPR's David Greene & Alison Aubrey along with David Ludwig Shill For Factory Farm Eggs M13 7:55AM

2016 AT&T Shareholders engaged by Communications Workers of America D9 Activists M12 11:43PM

Communications Workers of America District 9 Action at AT&T Shareholders M12 9:38PM

Voter Registration at ELAC M10 3:31PM

LA Times Fails to Cover Protest Against Clinton M07 9:15PM

Violence Against Poor In Venice A29 12:59PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de la misère S30 12:37AM

Evidence that USA is run by criminals S29 10:06PM

The Shortwave Report 09/30/16 Listen Globally! S29 5:24PM

Nuclear Shutdown News September 2016 S29 2:54PM

Puerto Rico Oversight Board Holds First Meeting S29 7:54AM

Neoliberal Crisis Policy has Failed S29 4:24AM

(A-Radio) Azerbaijan: the "flower holiday" of the dictator and the imprisoned anarchists S28 12:30PM

Sylvia Opens October 13 at Odyssey Theatre; Tanna Frederick Stars S27 5:56PM

Sylvia Opens October 12 at Odyssey Theatre; Tanna Frederick Stars S27 5:44PM

International Community Rallies to Protect a Monkey Species for the First Time in 30 Years S27 4:44PM

Causes of Great Problems Faded Out in Elections S27 5:57AM

Final Shot Trucchi S27 5:04AM

Cost of not caring: THE FINANCIAL AND HUMAN TOLL FOR NEGLECTING THE MENTALLY ILL S26 9:39PM

USA's President Has Almost No Power Over fbi / cia assassins S26 9:14PM

Cuba Liberates „Miss Burqa“ From Guantanamo S26 7:10AM

Dennis Mahon and Auntie Racist S26 6:58AM

This is your country, your people, not mine S25 7:46PM

Castle Clash Tips & Tricks S25 8:45AM

Datologie S25 12:47AM

Counterintelligence Operations Against A Target Are Global S24 8:15AM

Star Wars Battlefront Death Star DLC S23 3:18PM

Paraphysique de l'aplasie S23 2:37AM

The Shortwave Report 09/23/16 Listen Globally! S22 5:34PM

Philippines: The Punisher's dirty war on drugs S21 11:50PM

Final Shot Astuce Gem Tricks S21 3:58PM

How to get rid of fleas by Robert George Tronge S21 11:52AM

SB Game Hacker is ready to work S21 10:06AM

Joanna Lumley slams CITES’ rhino horn proposal S21 9:24AM

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