Un Ofrenda Para David Cruz, Digital Collage, digital drawing, Stone Mosaic with plaster, 217KB

Jovita Mercado + Gustavo Martinez

Artist Statement

During the Yakima warehouse worker strikes for better working conditions, David Cruz a warehouse worker from Allan bros incorporated passed away from Coronavirus. This piece is an ofrenda/an offering to David Cruz and to the many other Latinx essential workers in Yakima that are being impacted by the coronavirus. Yakima, Washington has had the most cases of coronavirus for several months now. Yakima county also has the highest Latinx population in Washington. Latinx make-up 13% of the population of Washington State, however 44% of the people in Washington who have tested positive for COVID-19 are Latinx (https://crosscut.com). This pandemic is highlighting the segregation that exists within Washington’s workforce. The maltreatment of the Latinx labor force is nothing new. There is a history of Latinx enduring gas baths and being sprayed with pesticides in order to work and make a life in the United States. This digital ofrenda was made to remind ourselves that the produce that we purchase comes from the labor of others. These laborers are human with families like you and me. They should not be sacrificial lambs of our state.

Want to help? If you live in Washington state, please call the Governor's office and ask him to support farmworkers and food processing workers’ health and safety.
360-902-4111 TTY/TDD call 711 or 1-800-833-6388.

More resources:

Yakima Response Network https://yakimaresponsenetwork.org/

Good resource for—
︎How to make masks for migrant workers and their families
︎ICE raid response training
︎Coronavirus benefits for people without immigration status in Washington State

Northwest immigration rights project

Good resource for—
︎Internships, jobs, volunteering
︎Community education
︎Direct legal services for immigrants

Artist Biography—
Jovita Mercado

I’m a Chicana, living on the hyphen of the word Mexican-American. My artwork critiques the United States’ exploitation of my ethnicity, while also evaluating my ethnicity’s oppressive gender expectations. I am specifically making work in response to the prolific amount of violence and abuse that has been occurring at the U.S./ Mexico border, and other border-related lands like my hometown of Yakima, Washington. My work is attempting to humanize my ethnicity away from political jargon and agenda.

Artist Biography—
Gustavo Martinez

Engagement with the arts transformed Gustavo Martinez’s life. At the age of five he migrated with his family to the state of California from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. His parents and older siblings were field workers, so his family moved several times. Martinez attended four different elementary schools and two middle schools before graduating from high school, where he discovered his love for visual arts. He earned a BFA degree from the Spatial Arts program at San Jose State University with a minor in Mexican American Studies, and a MFA degree from the University of Washington from the 3D4M program; he was the recipient of the Parnassus Teaching With Excellence award. Just before graduating from SJSU, Martinez embarked on a six-week backpacking trip exploring sacred archaeological sites in southern Mexico and Central America. In that trip he also studied traditional indigenous pottery techniques at Escuela Valentin Lopez in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua. In the fall of 2012 Martinez worked as a ceramic water filter production consultant at Ecofiltro SA in Guatemala. There he also helped organize the first annual ceramic symposium and sculpture exhibition. In March of 2018 Martinez traveled to the Usambara Mountains of Tanzania with La Paz International Foundation to build a ceramic kiln in a woman’s potter village. For the past five years Gustavo has been part of the summer faculty at Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Alaska where he teaches ceramics. Gustavo Martinez currently resides between El Paso, Texas, Tacoma, Washington and San Jose, California.