Among the most recent arrivals to Vermont communities are Mexican farmworkers. These workers have made harrowing and costly journeys to reach Vermont, where their labor is vital to the dairy industry and, by extension, the Vermont landscape. Yet most such workers have no formal immigration status. Risking deportation if they are seen or heard, they remain invisible. Having made an epic journey of thousands of miles, they often live in the narrow confines of a single farmhouse and milking parlor, dependent on others for basic needs.
While Vermonters have recently had some opportunities to discuss and reflect on this situation, Mexican farmworkers themselves have rarely had a voice in that conversation. Yet they have amazing stories to tell. The “Invisible Odysseys” exhibit is a collection of those stories, rendered in sculpture as well as words.
Organized over the last four years by Vermont artist and writer B. Amore and a team of volunteers, “Invisible Odysseys” is a collection of dioramas made by Mexican farmworkers here in Vermont. These tell the personal stories of their journeys, their isolated and challenging work here in Vermont, and their perspectives on two cultures. Above all, the exhibit makes visible a hidden community, and makes audible a set of voices that Vermonters have heard little of.
For “Invisible Odysseys” Amore provided farmworkers with paints, brushes, glue, and other materials, and the simple offer of a forum to express their ingenuity and voice. Beyond that, the fourteen artist-workers who participated have taken the project in their own directions, each telling their own story in their own way.