Our Stories, Our Lives: Irwin Nash Photographs of Yakima Valley Migrant Labor
The bounty and diversity of Washington State’s agriculture is possible because of the labor of agricultural workers. However, this work, and the individuals who perform it, are often hidden from view. In 1967, Irwin Nash visited the Yakima Valley to take photographs for a free-lance magazine piece on valley agriculture. After completing this assignment, he nevertheless returned to the farming communities around Yakima each season until 1976 to document the lives of these workers. In the process, he created a compelling archive of more than 9,400 photographs. These images capture the moments of daily life—children playing, Chicano student meetings, family scenes, asparagus harvests—as well as chronicle an era of rising labor and protest movements, strikes, and social awareness that swept across Washington state and the nation.
In collaboration with WSU Libraries’ Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collection, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU will exhibit a selection of 50 photographs from the Irwin Nash Yakima Valley Migrant Labor Collection. This important collection, which until recently was largely unknown, documents the histories, experiences, stories, and perspectives of the Yakima Valley migrant labor community. These photographs have inspired the community to share their stories and help us document previously undocumented histories.
LOCATION | The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU is located in the Crimson Cube (on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium and the CUB) on the WSU Pullman campus. For more information please visit museum.wsu.edu/about.