Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Music and Photography

Migration/Immigration: A Nation Divided

Last night I worked a photography show exhibiting Francisco Dominguez's work at the Sacramento Area Peace Action. You might know Francisco as fotowaddle. The event details are here.

I arrived early with pink punch and strawberries and cookies, and worked with others to set up the room, Manu Chao our audio backdrop. Then the guests started arriving in pairs and trios, and chose their seats among the mauve chairs, set theater-style. They filled the conference room with their glib buzzing chatter and chips-and-salsa crunching.

The program began with a short introduction, and then Pedro and Manuel played their beautiful stringed instruments and sang traditional call and response songs. Such volume! Such energy! Such melodic, percussive, dance-inducing JOY!

Francisco's photographs document the harsh conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the people who live there. In both color and black and white, they were simple portraits and action shots. They were pieces of truth and tragedy: white crosses marking the graves of unknown people who died trying to find a better life; bracero workers who have been lending their labor to the United States for decades; barrels of water placed out in the desert by merciful church family members visiting through gaps in the border fence.

Francisco also performed an art piece: a traditional prayer with a DVD slide show of some of his shots. A group discussion with a question and answer period was held. Manuel and Pedro played again, reinvigorating us, keeping us strong and happy for another day of good work and honest living.

And on that note, I might have a new crush on a certain Guatemalan musician. Oh dear, my heart did flutter when he hugged me, crisp white shirt against my red t-shirt, warm cheek against mine, my fingers in his hand and his deep, quiet eyes glancing looking into mine as he took my card.

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