Michele Palazzi & Alessandro Penso Statement

Artist Statement
Migrant Workers Journey

According to Caritas' data, there are almost 4.900.000 migrants in Italy, and at least 700.000 of those are irregulars. The INEA -- the public research body of structural and socio-economic agro-industry -- has recorded 102.000 people in the agricultural field. However, these 'irregulars' are excluded. Every year, in a sort of pilgrimage, these 'irregulars' move many miles, from East to West and from South to North of the country. Day by day, they follow different parts of the agricultural harvest, picking products such as melons, tomatoes, grapes, olives and oranges. It is a long harvest, going on for six or even seven months. This project describes and tires to document the social and human working conditions of these people, specifically during a period that strictly makes their lives, the tomato harvest in Basilicata, a region in the south of Italy, during August and September. There are about 3.000 migrants willing to work even 12 hours a day for only 25 euro. They live, or perhaps they survive, in empty houses without electricity and water, in extreme poverty conditions. They have no rights, and no form of assistance. They are at the mercy of the corporals who are mostly Italians, deputies who control not only their jobs but their lives.

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