New Photography Exhibit in Lavery Library by Local Photographer Joseph Sorrentino
St. John Fisher College’s Lavery Library is currently hosting “Aquí y Allá: Life for Impoverished Mexicans in the U.S. and Mexico,” a photography exhibit by local photographer, Joseph Sorrentino. The exhibit will be on display through April 13, with an artist talk and reception scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, from 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. in the Lower Level Gallery. The reception is free and open to the public.
Sorrentino began documenting the lives of farm workers in Western New York in 2002. The vast majority of farm workers in this area, and across the U.S., are from Mexico, and it is estimated that more than half of all Mexican farm workers are here illegally. After seeing the difficult conditions under which they live and work, he decided to travel to remote villages in southern Mexico in 2003 to see first-hand the conditions that were driving them to make the dangerous journey across the border. His trip took him to the coffee-growing regions in the Sierra Juarez in Oaxaca and to Cuetzalan, Puebla, where he found extreme poverty. He has since made four extended trips to Mexico’s rural regions (El Campo) while continuing to document conditions for farm workers in New York. The exhibit attempts to show what life is like for impoverished Mexicans on both sides of our southern border.
Government and private studies estimate that slightly over 80% of all rural workers are “extremely poor,” earning $2 a day, or about $600 a year.
“As poverty worsens in El Campo, more and more rural workers are forced off their land in search of jobs in the U.S. They are coming here for one simple reason - they cannot earn enough to feed their families,” said Sorrentino.
His articles and photographs have appeared in a number of publications, including City Paper (Philadelphia), City Paper (Rochester, NY), Rochester Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, La Jornada del Campo (Mexico City), and Commonwealth Magazine. He has had close to 40 solo photography exhibits, including several in Mexico. His photographs will appear in La Hora del Café, Dos Siglos de Café Mexicano, which will be published by Instituto Maya later this year.
The exhibit is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs and Lavery Library.