“We Are Human / Somos Humanos” is composed of photo assemblages or Retablos, and the series documents the post-Katrina public demonstrations of Latino immigrant workers in defense of their human rights. The assemblages are created from discarded wooden drawers found on the streets post-Katrina, and the drawers are transformed into shadowbox altars that house the archival photo images. A second-hand clock is placed at various points of each photo image, and it represents the beating heart of immigrant men, women and children working in the shadows of the U.S. empire.
My work is driven by an interest in merging fine art photography with social justice, and these works are inspired by the iconic work of Depression Era photographer Dorothea Lange, who captured the faces of impoverished rural America through her lens. Immigrants today are a new face of the same old story of marginalized people. “We Are Human/Somos Humanos” also echoes with the influences of contemporary photojournalist David Bacon from California. His book “Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration” captures the human faces of Latino immigrants whose labor is exploited by the same system that demonizes them as “illegal aliens”. “No Human Beings is Illegal,” and my aim is to capture the humanity of a people under persecution who have contributed tremendously to the rebirth and recovery of New Orleans.
Image: The Disappeared Immigrants by Jose Torres-Tama