WORK > ART WORK

New Demands? We Mourn Our Losses
New Demands? We Mourn Our Losses
Textile banner, hand and machine sewn cotton and silk with trims
44 x 58 inches
2015

This banner is inspired by textile banners created for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union in 1911, and carried in a public funeral march and protest by the union in the wake of the Triangle Factory Fire that killed 146 young, mostly Jewish and immigrant women workers. Windows, doors and fire exits were kept locked by the factory owners, trapping workers when the fire broke out. Today, garment workers continue to perish in factory fires, especially in Bangladesh.

The original banners, captured in a handful of archival photographs, read "Workers Mourn Our Loss". This banner is adapted from that slogan. The use of the plural "losses" alludes to the many losses experienced by workers in the USA and around the world. This work reflects on contemporary losses caused by structural white supremacy: by racialized police violence; mass incarceration; the assault on reproductive freedoms, abortion rights and access to health care; the closures of dozens of Chicago public schools in primarily Black and Latinx neighborhoods. The text has been adapted from "We Mourn our Loss" to "We Mourn Our Losses" to acknowledge a trajectory of historical and continuing losses that are cumulative, choking, and overwhelming.

Exhibited as part of I Can't Breathe at ARC Gallery, Chicago. Juried by Mary Patten and Romi Crawford, PhD.
Studio assistance: Christie Carlson