Conceived by Toronto artist Farrah Marie Miranda, Speaking Fruit is a mobile, roadside fruit-stand and design studio that feeds the movement for migrant farmworker rights.
Drawing on curatorial strategies, Miranda invited artists, academics and community organizers Evelyn Encalada & Gabriel Allahdua (Justice for Migrant Farmworkers), Heryka Miranda (choreographer), Luca Lucarini (filmmaker), Lal & Ruben Esguerra (sound design), Ryan Hayes (graphic designer / printmaker), and Craig Fortier (principal investigator) and dozens of migrant farmworkers to participate in this collaborative production.
Beginning with a single question posed to migrant farmworkers in Southern Ontario, the project asks: “If the fruits you grow and pick could speak from dinner tables, refrigerators, and grocery aisles, what would you want them to say?”
Organizers have gathered dozens of written and audio responses to this question from migrant agricultural workers across Southern Ontario and mobilized an incredible array of artists, partners, activists, and allies around these messages, turning them into direct action and also creative expression. With colourful produce, a virtual screen, and lively soundscape, this hybrid sculpture / organizing hub convenes workshops and events that aim to share strategies and build alliances between movements for racial justice, food justice, and labour justice while distributing to the public these messages through specially designed produce packaging.
Speaking Fruit has performed as an experiential learning hub and co-curricular platform for courses at York University and the University of Waterloo, and has been featured in events and exhibitions at the Santa Fe Arts Institute, the Art Gallery of York University, Onsite Gallery (Toronto), and at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (Hamilton).
Speaking Fruit is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada. It is also the recipient of generous support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Ontario Arts Council and the University of Waterloo.