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BRACEROS photography exhibit

Submitted by Yuko Mera on March 30, 2018 - 2:34pm

 Photographed by the Hermanos Mayo
Curator: John Mraz
Lobby of Allen Library
University of Washington
March 20-April 20, 2018

A specter is haunting the world – the specter of immigration. In this exhibit we explore the experience of emigrating, as it was rendered by photographers who had also been uprooted. Today, as waves of migrations hurl themselves on the coasts and borders of the world, it seems appropriate to reflect on the Mexican braceros who were recruited to fill the boots of those US soldiers who had gone to fight fascism in the Second World War. Under the “Bracero Program, 1942-1964,” Mexicans were legally contracted to work in the USA as temporary unskilled laborers. We have chosen to tell this story through photographs made by other emigrants, Spanish refugees from that country’s Civil War (1936-1939), who -- though they left their country for different reasons --nonetheless bring the particular gaze of emigrants to this task. The ‘Hermanos Mayo’ were a Madrid photography studio composed of two sets of brothers from Galicia: Francisco, Julio and Cándido Souza Fernández and Faustino and Pablo de Castillo Cubillo. When they were exiled from Spain, they reestablished their photographic studio in downtown Mexico City. There they went on to become path-breaking photojournalists, documenting a wide variety of subjects, ranging from popular movements to street life and migration. In this selection of 38 black-and-white images housed in the Mexican National Archive, the Hermanos Mayo poignantly captured the migrants’ optimism and enthusiasm, and their heartfelt farewells to loved ones at the train station, along with the protests and demonstrations of those who were not allowed to participate in the Program.


We are grateful to the Mexican National Archive, the Mexican Center for the Preservation of National Railroad History, and the following units at the University of Washington for their generous support of this exhibit:


Department of Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media

Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Department of American Ethnic Studies

Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies

Simpson Center for the Humanities

Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies


For further information please contact Cynthia Steele: