Labor Day for the Voiceless

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Loe Luna's "The Gritty Life of a Day Laborer," 2014, archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag.

Loe Luna's "The Gritty Life of a Day Laborer," 2014, archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag.

Labor Day is a celebration of the social and economic achievement of American workers. One day a year, on the first of September, many shops, office buildings and restaurants are closed – but not everyone that contributes to the American economy is American. At least, not yet.

Joe Luna’s “Work Permit,” 2014, archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag.

Joe Luna’s “Work Permit,” 2014, archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag.

A photography exhibition opens on Thursday, Sept. 11, at the San Antonio Central Library that explores the daily lives of day laborers. “Sin Voz,” the voiceless, is a photo essay from photographer Joe Luna, who will be participating in an exhibition and public lectures with fellow Photohive students Kallie Pfeiffer and Rolando Sepulveda.

Joe Luna’s “Concrete Laborer,” 2014, archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag.

Joe Luna’s “Concrete Laborer,” 2014, archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag.

“Day laborers are among the hardest working people in our society. Many have traveled far from their families in hopes of a better life. They work all types of labor-intensive jobs that barely allow them to make a living,(including) construction, handyman, lawn service and carpentry work,” stated Luna in a press release. “They work long days with little or no food, yet day after day, year after year, their life never changes. Though they cling to the bottom of our economy, many are hopeful that every day brings a new opportunity.”

The opening night event for the three-person exhibition, “Prime,” will be from 6-8 p.m. at the library. The following Friday evening, the Southwest School of Art will host a silent auction and lecture in the Russell Hill Roger lecture hall in the Navarro Campus from 6-7 p.m.

Photohive is a student-centered organization currently seeking nonprofit status that financially supports students to produce, print and ship their artwork through awards and scholarships. This series of exhibits aim to highlight these students’ work development since Photohiveʼs inaugural exhibition, SWARM, during Contemporary Art Month (March).

*Featured/top image: Joe Luna’s “The Gritty Life of a Day Laborer,” 2014, archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag.

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3 thoughts on “Labor Day for the Voiceless

  1. There is a world famous/Library of Congress Depression era photo of two child slag pickers. Image search Ben Shahn Nanty Glo to see it. Its the one with the boy wearing the Andy Capp hat on the left. Millions of people have always believed they were being exploited by “Big Coal.” But it was my twelve year old father who hooked them up with the gig in the same way a paper boy turns over his route to a younger neighbor. Now image search Lou Mc Hugh. Find the pic of the sailor posing with the Nanty Glo football team. The boy on the right is standing to my fathers (sailor) right. The boy with the hat is front row second from right. A historian told me that this might be the only existing photo of the two boys together again, seven years later in High School. They were saying good bye to my Dad as he began his Atlantic Fleet convoy duties…I met the boy on the right as a 65 year old man at my mothers funeral in 1988.

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