Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 8:47 pm | Fair 63º


Photos Tell Stories of Community Spirit and Culture

Free exhibit at La Casa de La Raza on display through June 12

“Living Under The Trees,” a free photo exhibit by award-winning journalist and documentary photographer David Bacon, in partnership with California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA), and the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, will be on display at La Casa de La Raza, 601 E. Montecito St., through June 12. “Living Under The Trees” presents a thoughtful series of photographs and personal stories that explores the unique challenges indigenous communities face, while also celebrating the culture and community spirit that sustains them.

An opening reception, community forum on affordable housing in Santa Barbara and fundraiser for CRLA will be at 6 p.m. Thursday. The reception will include an open bar and complimentary buffet, Q & A with photographer David Bacon, a Rural Justice Forum on affordable housing in Santa Barbara,  a Special Rural Justice Award presentation and limited-edition photography sale. There is a $100 minimum contribution, and all proceeds will benefit the CRLA.

The exhibit chronicles the conditions of indigenous farmworker communities in California. Photographs and oral history narratives convey the vibrant cultures of music, dance, food and traditional health practices, which help these communities survive under very difficult circumstances. And while the images show situations of extreme poverty, they also present people as agents of change – questioning unfair work conditions, working for better housing and making critical decisions about their community. The exhibit also underscores the consequences of economic dislocation from Mexico, and the challenges that dislocation creates for these communities in California.

The CRLA has been serving farmworker communities for more than 40 years, and has been working closely with indigenous farmworker families for more than a decade. Starting in 1996, CRLA began working with indigenous communities in San Diego to help secure safe, affordable housing. The Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations is a community-based organization and a coalition of indigenous organizations, communities, and individuals settled in Oaxaca, Baja California and in the State of Califonia. ‘Living Under The Trees” helps to highlight the ongoing need for legal support and education to protect the rights of these communities.

According to estimates, indigenous Mexican migrants constitute more than half of California’s farmworker population, yet they remain marginalized and with limited access to safe, affordable housing and social services. Speaking several unique languages other than Spanish, these communities of Mixteco, Triqui, Zapoteco, Chatino, and Purepecha are frequently the targets of discrimination from both Latino and non-Latino individuals across California.

The exhibition is partially funded by the Ford Foundation. Additional support for the project was provided by the California Council of The Humanities and the California Endowment.

Call 805.963.5981 or send an e-mail to [email protected] to purchase tickets for the opening reception Thursday.

Jennifer Tong is an exhibition coordinator for “Living Under The Trees.”

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