Conceived by Toronto artist Farrah Miranda, Speaking Fruit (2017) is a mobile road-side fruit-stand and design studio that feeds the movement for migrant farmworker rights.
Organized through a collaborative process, the work brings together artists, organizers, and migrant farmworkers, including: Evelyn Encalada and Gabriel Allahdua (Justice for Migrant Workers organizers), Heryka Miranda (choreographer), Luca Lucarini (filmmaker), Lal and Ruben Esguerra (sound design), Charmaine Lurch and Ryan Hayes (printmaking), and Craig Fortier (Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo).
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.
From September to December 2017, as part of the Art Gallery of York University's exhibition, Migrating the Margins, Speaking Fruit was stationed on YorkU’s campus where it performed as an experiential learning hub and co-curricular platform for courses at York University.
During this time, Speaking Fruit also travels to:
Sep 16 - Black Creek Community Farm
Sep 19 - York U Faculty of Environmental Studies Speaker Series
Sep 19, 24 - Food Land Culture courses at York U
Sep 30 - Toronto Nuit Blanche
Oct 7 - Hemi GSI ConvergenceSep 16 - Black Creek Community Farm
Oct 13 - Workers Arts & Heritage Centre
Oct 17 - Publics / Privates course, York U
Oct 19 - Community Arts Cultural Production Workshop, York U
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 University of Waterloo.