The Pioneer Valley Workers Center and The LAVA Center have partnered to curate the “No Somos Máquinas (We Are Not Machines): Farmworker Resistance in the Connecticut River Valley” exhibit for a spring showcase.
The exhibit will be on display at The LAVA Center, 324 Main St., in March and April. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, March 4, from noon to 3 p.m. The exhibit’s photographer, Alfonso Neal, will speak about the images and reflect on the themes the exhibit highlights.
Through the words and portraits of farm staff in western Massachusetts, the “No Somos Máquinas” exhibit explores the broken immigration system, the exclusion of farm employees from basic labor protections and the conditions that have compelled them to rise up. This fully bilingual exhibit consists of portraits, interpretive panels, a timeline of worker organizing and audio of oral history excerpts.
“Photography can show the monumentality of a moment in an instant, and nothing is more monumental and impactful than the faces and voices of farm workers organizing in the fields and their communities,” Neal said in a statement. “Behind their eyes is a fierce determination to leave the world in better shape than how it’s found. It was a privilege to photograph these farm workers and to highlight their historic struggle for dignity and respect.”
According to The LAVA Center, it is collaborating on the exhibit as part of its project IndiVISIBLE, part of Mass Humanities’ Expand Massachusetts Stories initiative. IndiVISIBLE, guided by Lindy Whiton and Alfonso Neal, will document the lives of indispensable, yet often invisible, agricultural workers. The project is funded by Mass Humanities, the Markam-Nathan Fund for Social Justice and Greening Greenfield.
This is the second iteration of “No Somos Máquinas,” according to The LAVA Center. The first exhibit, held in 2016 at the APE Gallery in Northampton, featured oral histories and portraits of restaurant workers.
The LAVA Center requires masks for all guests and always has some on hand. For more information, visit thelavacenter.org.
from the Greenfield Recorder Notebook, 2/24/23
Click here to read the article online.