Luis-rey Velasco (b. 1969) creates evocative photographs that capture labor histories, cultural traditions, and everyday people. He came of age in the San Joaquin Valley, a region of California where the history of Latinx farm labor is intrinsic to its identity. Mexican migrant workers arrived in the 1940s due to a set of agreements between the United States and Mexico. The program ended in 1964, but immigration to the region continued. Immersed in this history, Velasco moved to North Carolina in 1999 to photograph children of migrant farm workers.
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Featured in this exhibition are a selection of photographs Velasco executed between 1998 and 2005, many portraying members of farm worker communities in California and North Carolina. These compelling images emphasize his longtime focus on communities, histories, and regions that are largely hidden yet integral to the American economy.
Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.
Luis-rey Velasco, 104 Degrees, 1998, gelatin silver print, 17 3/8 × 11 3/4 in., Purchased with funds from the William R. Roberson Jr. and Frances M. Roberson Endowed Fund for North Carolina Art