TORONTO, Sept. 14, 2017 /CNW/ - Conceived by Toronto-artist Farrah Miranda, Speaking Fruit is a mobile roadside fruit-stand and design studio that feeds the movement for migrant farmworker rights.
The public art project began with a single question posed to migrant farmworkers in Southern Ontario: "If the fruits you grow and pick could speak from dinner tables, refrigerators and grocery aisles, what would you want them to say?" Organizers gathered dozens of responses from migrant agricultural workers in Canada, and mobilized artists, activists and academics around these messages, turning them into direct action and creative expressions.
With colourful produce, a virtual reality film and a lively soundscape, the fruit-stand convenes events to share stories and build alliances between movements for food justice, racial justice and labour justice. The messages from migrant workers will be distributed to the public through the travelling fruit stand and specially designed produce packaging which encourages produce consumers to respond to messages from migrant farmworkers using the hashtag #SpeakingFruit.
For Gabriel Allahdua, a migrant farmworker from St. Lucia, the project provides an opportunity to share his hopes for the future. "We want permanent status not temporary work," he says.
From September to December 2017, as part of "Migrating the Margins", an exhibition at the Art Gallery of York University. Speaking Fruit will be stationed on York's campus where it will act as an experiential learning hub and co-curricular platform for courses at York University. It will also travel to the University of Waterloo, where Professor Craig Fortier, the principal investigator on Speaking Fruits' SSHRC Connections grant, will provide students with an opportunity to take a class led by migrant farmworkers and artists applying concepts of social justice.
Evelyn Encalada, an activist with the group Justice for Migrant Farmworkers believes this project is urgent and necessary "it brings together worlds that are kept apart but inextricably linked".
Speaking Fruit's fall schedule:
Sept. 15 - "Migrating the Margins" - Art Gallery of York University
Sept. 16 - Community Launch - Black Creek Community Farm
Sept. 20 - Night Market - Six Nations
Sept. 21-23 - Art and Food Justice Festival - Hamilton
Sept. 28 - Canadian Student Leadership Conference - Waterloo
Sept 30 - Nuit Blanche
Oct. 7 - Hemi GSI Convergence
Oct. 25-Nov 30 - Santa Fe Arts Institute
SOURCE Speaking Fruit
For further information: Farrah-Marie Miranda, p: 416-278-4125, e: firstname.lastname@example.org, t: @farrah_miranda