Latino Day Workers

Futbol en el Verano © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Futbol en el Verano © Berenice Pliskin 2013

An idea for this series first suggested itself to me as I drove back and forth to do some errands in suburban New York where I live. I had become accustomed to seeing Hispanic men congregating in small groups. I knew they were waiting for work.
Since I often took the same route, I noticed that they were there despite the weather. They were waiting to be hired by contractors or home owners. The way in which they were dressed, in their work boots and rough clothes, appealed to me as an artist.

Since I knew that it would be an invasion of their privacy to take photos of them, I formed my earliest ideas from existing internet images and from a film titled, “Farmingville USA,” a town on Long Island NY. The struggles which ignited between opposing groups, foreshadowed the enmity which began erupting throughout many towns in America.

I’ve painted all of these images on silk fabric using highly concentrated dyes. I’ve been creating fine art in this way for many years. Most of the paintings are approximately 24″ x 24″. The process is labor intensive and requires steaming the silk after an image is completed. A disparity exists since silk is a luxurious fabric and the subjects of these paintings are people who have tough lives. By using this medium I feel that I am showing respect for my subjects.

I recently began volunteering as an art teacher at a community center called Neighbors Link. This has been an awakening! Making contact with these workers through art has made me realize that though they are now doing physical work a number of them have good educational backgrounds.They have diverse interests and several of them have had training in the visual arts. All are anxious to learn and have a genuine respect for education.

I now encourage you to interact by expressing your own views in this guest book.

Women Waiting for Garment Work © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Women Waiting for Garment Work” © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Gleaners Updated © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Gleaners Updated © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Day Laborers and Protestors © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Day Laborers and Protestors © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Waiting for Work © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Waiting for Work © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Carlos Studing English © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Carlos Studing English © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Not Wanted © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Not Wanted © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Bottle Gatherers © Berenice Pliskin 2013

Bottle Gatherers © Berenice Pliskin 2013

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