City of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism invite you to visit the Gallery at City Hall for its newest exhibit Masters of the Craft: Gallery of Memory. The show will be on view in the Gallery at City Hall January 24th - March 22nd
with an opening reception on February 6th from 5pm - 7pm
Masters of the Craft: Gallery of Memory is a photography exhibit commemorating the 80th anniversary of the founding of Local 1329 of the International Longshoremen's Association (I.L.A.) in Providence, the first labor union in New England organized predominantly by Cape Verdeans. Members of Local 1329 longshoremen, their families and descendants are featured in these formal portraits photographed by Liane Brandon. This exhibit serves as a companion to the upcoming documentary "Working The Boats" by Claire Andrade-Watkins.
The Cape Verdeans who settled in the Fox Point section of Providence began arriving in the early 20th century from the Cape Verde Islands, a tiny, impoverished and drought-stricken Portuguese colony off the coast of West Africa. They encountered discrimination and isolation as poor, non-English speaking and non-white immigrants, with little or no formal education, and were relegated to low-paying and dangerous jobs that nobody else wanted. The Union transformed this environment for Cape Verdeans from a dangerous, low paying job to one that produced safer working conditions, better pay and benefits.
From the 1940s to the early 1970s, the waterfront industry boomed. Providence, whose two largest entering cargos were scrap iron and loose lumber, was one of the busiest ports on the eastern seaboard. Working the boats was the economic lifeline for the Cape Verdean community, providing jobs and security for between 200 to 250 Local 1329 members and their families. Jobs were passed down from father to son, and new members learned their "Craft" on the job from the "Masters" (their fathers, brothers, cousins, neighbors and extended family).
This exhibit and the upcoming documentary "Working the Boats" by Claire Andrade-Watkins are under the umbrella of the Fox Point Cape Verdean Project, a multi-faceted initiative spearheaded by Cape Verdeans to preserve the history and memory of the Fox Point Cape Verdean Community.
About the Gallery at City Hall: Offering space to artists and organizations that might not have a permanent gallery, the Gallery at City Hall exhibits an eclectic array of work that highlights the artistic and cultural diversity found in the Providence community. The Gallery is open to the public during City Hall business hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm; on the first and third Wednesday of every month, hours are extended until 7:00 p.m. (25 Dorrance Street, 2nd Floor, Providence, RI 02903).