A kinetic sculpture demonstrating the skill and determination of the Mexican field workers, the braceros, was the featured exhibit at the Latino Education and Advocacy Days (LEAD) Summit XI.
The piece, “The Mexican Agreement,” was created by international artist Daniel Ruanova and students from Cal State San Bernardino’s Department of Art and Design while Ruanova was an artist-in-residence at the university.
The artwork will head to The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture in Riverside upon completion.
On display at LEAD Summit XI on Sept. 30, attended by Ruanova and where The Cheech’s namesake, Richard “Cheech” Marin, was the morning keynote speaker, was a video animation showing “The Mexican Labor Agreement.”
In an interview in February 2022, when Ruanova was at CSUSB working with the students, he said, “The project at hand, ‘The Mexican Labor Agreement,’ is a large-scale kinetic sculpture that denotes the strength needed to work the fields of California, an homage to the millions of laborers who’ve made this land a true gem of the U.S., and fed the nation through the hard work, personal sacrifices and the translocation of their lives and their families’ lives in order to strive for better futures for their descendants.”
The sculpture will be part of Ruanova’s long-term and ongoing collaborative “Bracero Legacy Project,” a multidisciplinary approach for creating a new dialogue about Californian and American history through the generational experience of farm labor migrants and how their struggles have created opportunities for them and their families.
Ruanova’s residency at CSUSB was supported by a Community Based Research and Establishing Community Partnership grant from the Office of Community Engagement at CSUSB. The grant solidifies an ongoing partnership between CSUSB, the MexiCali Biennial, The Cheech, and the Garcia Center for the Arts.