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José Torres-Tama: Hard Living in the Big Easy: Immigrants & the Rebirth of

Five years in development, Hard Living in the Big Easy: Immigrants & the Rebirth of New Orleans is the title of an immersive exhibition of mixed media drawings by award-wining visual artist José Torres-Tama, and it honors the immigrant community that has contributed to the rise of the city post-Katrina. View some of the works at the link below.

September 8 - October 6, 2018

The most neglected story of the city’s 2018 Tricentennial celebrations is the immense contribution Latin American immigrants have made to our reconstruction in the thirteen years since Hurricane Katrina. Hard Living in the Big Easy: Immigrants & the Rebirth of New Orleans offers an immersive exhibition of mixed media works that visualize a heroic immigrant people who have given of their sweat, labor, and love to the resurrection of our once devastated port city. —José Torres-Tama

Torres-Tama is an Ecuadorian immigrant, naturalized US citizen, and multidisciplinary artist dedicated to social justice, and most of these drawings are inspired by the many photographs of pubic protests he has taken of the Congress of Day Laborers, the organization of immigrant reconstruction workers and their families that have brought attention to the injustices suffered by a community that has assisted the rebuilding of New Orleans.

His figurative expressionistic works are inspired by the dramatic styles of German and Latin American expressionist artists such as Max Beckman and Diego Rivera. More currently, they echo the political drawings of British artist Sue Coe. He studied traditional drawing at the Arts Students League in New York under the tutelage of drawing master Robert Beverly Hale.

In March, Torres-Tama received a 2018 PLATFORMS Fund for the development of this project, and it’s various other community engagement components in development.

For the opening event, Roberto Carrillo will offer a live intermittent 12-minute music performance once every 45 minutes, and play an Andean-music sound-scape that reminds us that the reconstruction workers of New Orleans are descendants of Aztecs, Maya, Zapotecs, and other indigenous people of the Hemispheric Americas. These music compositions will offer a magical live audio element to enhance the sacred space of the installation of drawings.

Tshombe Tshanti is the film artist creating the accompanying film video for the exhibition, and he will edit public protest footage that José Torres-Tam has shot during the past ten years of documenting the demonstrations of the Congress of Day Laborers. He will document the exhibition opening as well


Regular gallery hours are 12-5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, through the run of the exhibition. Please contact Kathy Rodriguez at with questions, or call the gallery at 504.948.6939 during open hours.


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