Jose Torres-Tama: Somos Humanos / We Are Human
December 9, 2017 – February 4, 2018
Opening: Saturday, Dec 9, 4-8pm
On Opening night, Jose Torres-Tama, photographer and performance artist, will offer an Open Studio talk on the series called “Somos Humanos / We Are Human” at 7pm, and all PhotoNOLA attendees will hear an intimate presentation on the development of this photographic series over the past seven years from 2010 to 2017. It will culminate in a ten-minute performance dedicated to the Latina/no immigrant workers who have aided the rebirth and reconstruction of New Orleans post-Katrina.
“Somos Humanos / We Are Human” is a series of dramatic black and white photographs that chronicle the post-Katrina public protests of Latino immigrant workers in defense of their human rights. Some images are developed into mixed media assemblages or “Photo Retablos” created from re-purposed wooden drawers found on the streets after the storm. In the Mexican tradition, the “Retablo” is developed as an altar dedicated to the Virgin Mother, La Guadalupe, or other saintly figures. In these “Retablos,” José Torres-Tama has created mini altars with these photos in honor of the Congress of Day Laborers / El Congreso de Jornaleros, the immigrant activist group working fiercely to bring attention to the injustices suffered by a community that has offered their sweat and blood to rebuild this city.
A moving second-hand clock is placed at various points of each photo image, representing the beating heart of immigrants working in the shadows. Latina/no immigrants have been a big part of the rebirth of New Orleans post-Katrina, but they face a clear and present danger of brutal deportations with a hostile White House administration pimping fear and anti-immigrant hysteria.