Rachel Schreiber | research

Bread and Roses: 100 Years from the Lower East Side to the Maquiladoras
Produced in collaboration with Laura Burns
Exhibited: School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, MD, May 2003

Images

Statement

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Images


Maria Elena Garcia, Independent union organizer, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, June 2001; and Pauline Newman, Socialist labor activist, organizer for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and the Women's Trade Union League.


Voltairine de Cleyre, Anarchist writer and activist, Founding member of the Women's National Liberal Union, 1890; and Lucia Santiago de Vidar, Independent union organizer and worker, Alcoa Fujikura, Ltd. Plant No. 5 (Arneses y Accesorios de Mexico), Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico, June 2001.


Fannia Cohn, Executive Secretary of the Educational Department of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (first woman on the General Executive Board), 1919; and Amparo Reyes, Independent union organizer and worker, Alcoa Marcolmex Corporation, Plant No. 1, Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, June 2001.
[Amparo Reyes was fired and blacklisted in February 2002, because of her organizing work.]


Luz Maria Sanchez, Independent union organizer and worker, Alcoa Fujikura, Ltd. Plant No. 5, Workshop No. 2 (Arneses y Accesorios de Mexico), Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico, June 2001; and Emma Goldman, Anarchist activist and editor, Mother Earth, 1906-1918.


Rose Schneiderman, Labor Activist and Secretary of Labor, State of New York, 1928; and Julia Quiñonez, Director, Comité Fronterizo de Obreras, (Border Workers' Committee), Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, June 2001.


Maria Elena Gonzalez, Independent union organizer and worker, Alcoa Fujikura, Ltd. Plant No. 5 (Arneses y Accesorios de Mexico), Ciudad Acñua, Coahuila, Mexico, June 2001; and Rose Pesotta, Anarchist labor activist, First Woman Vice President of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, 1934.

Statement

“Bread & Roses,” a series of photographs I produced collaboratively with Laura Burns, is a comparative study of the history of Jewish women immigrant labor organizers in the garment trades on the Lower East Side of Manhattan circa 1890-1930, to contemporary women organizing for labor rights in the garment trades along the US/Mexican border. The project consists of a series of large, back-lit diptychs, which pair one computer-sewn portrait of an historical labor activist with a color photograph of a contemporary Mexican labor activist. “Bread & Roses” seeks to create a link across time and geography—from the beginnings of industrialization to its current legacy in globalization, and from New York City, birthplace of the sweatshop, to the border, site of contemporary sweatshops. The project hopes to incite viewers to consider the ways in which xenophobic attitudes towards immigrants and border workers allow exploitative labor conditions to persist. The images are presented as backlit light boxes, using the visual language of advertising. Rather than being vehicles for the distribution of goods, as women often are in advertising, the portraits are intended to provoke thought about the women who are the producers of such goods.

 

 

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