On October 27, Mona Lee and Zoe Abbey, visited Truman State University Art Gallery to discuss their contributions to the current exhibition I, too, am America: Photographs by Kansas City Fast Food Workers, on view in the side gallery until Thursday December 1.
The two artists, who have both been employed in the fast food industry for many years, are actively involved in Stand Up KC (http://standupkc.org), an organization set up to give fast-food and retail workers a voice to speak for better working conditions, higher wages, and a union. Through their work with Stand Up KC, Lee and Abbey were drawn into the Langston Hughes Club and collaborated on this photography project with photojournalist Steve Hebert. The aim of the project was to document—from their own perspective—the conditions in which low-income workers live and work.
Both Lee and Abbey talked discussed how their and their fellow workers’ financial, personal, and social difficulties were expressed in the everyday scenes captured in this exhibition, showing among other things bare rooms, empty refrigerators, and bathtubs full of laundry. The interactive and personal discussion provided an invaluable inside perspective, showcasing exactly why the exhibition I, too, am America has caught the attention of media nationwide (http://nyti.ms/1GDn5Ld).