Migrant farm workers have been a part of the agricultural industry in the United States for many years, with many coming from Latin American countries for seasonal work like fruit-picking. In this short documentary, filmmaker Ava Lowrey profiles Lina Puerta — a New York artist honoring migrant workers through her recent installation, “From Field to Table: Seven Tapestries Honoring Latino Farm Laborers from the American South.”
As a mixed-media artist, Puerta’s method for this series was to use a variety of stencils, and materials to reach a beautiful diversity of textures, layers, and depth. Puerta drew inspiration from photographs, deciding to focus on the crops that often require to most manual labor.
In one example, Puerta depicts the field workers that pick strawberries. Photos depict their bodies being constantly bent over, and Puerta picked the shape of an arch to empathize the strenuous position their bodies are put into for “la fruta del Diablo,” or the fruit of the devil. Puerta remembers: “For me it was important to show them with integrity and respect, and recognition of their hard work. A work that is not recognized by our system.”
Watch the full video above. A Visible Tapestry is a film made for the Southern Foodways Alliance, an ongoing documentary project that "documents, studies, and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South."