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Braceros

1960 Domingo Ulloa Born: Pomona, California 1919 Died: El Centro, California 1997 oil on masonite 36 × 49 in. (91.4 × 124.5 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Eugene Iredale and Julia Yoo 2014.20 Smithsonian American Art Museum
1st Floor, South Wing


Gallery Label

Domingo Ulloa painted this canvas after several visits to a Bracero camp in Holtville, California. The Bracero Program (1942-64) was a bi-national effort that brought Mexican guest workers, known as braceros, to fill in agricultural labor shortages caused by World War II. Ulloa's crowd of workers, who peer dejectedly through a barbed-wire fence, reinforce the mounting public protest against their poor living and working conditions. His composition recalls photographs of concentration camp inmates, which Ulloa--a World War II veteran--was familiar with. Ulloa later stated, "Most of my paintings are inspired by the common people in their work, in their joy, and their struggle."

Keywords

Architecture Exterior - detail - fence

Dress - accessory - hat

Ethnic - Mexican

Figure group - male

Occupation - labor

painting

About Domingo Ulloa

Born: Pomona, California 1919 Died: El Centro, California 1997