The piece title “Black! Rage! Coffee!” is an absurdist work profiling the exploitation of farmers, migrant workers of color worldwide by agricultural conglomerates. The title and imagery although tongue and cheek, gives voice to the farmers along with agri-communities that have been systematically taken advantage of by not having a fair seat at the bargaining table. Due to racist, colonialist and now capitalist devaluations of their personhood, labor and their land if they still have ownership of it.
The literal black coloring of the character is a reference to the collective of agricultural workers of color from developing countries /nations worldwide, as well as Black American Farmers. The “rage” alluded to in the title of the work is depicted in the face of the character, with teeth bared, along with a grimacing visage. The use of yellows, muted reds and orange colors in the background are the figurative expression of anger, frustration and resentment.
The hoe tool that the farmer is holding is dual in nature. A hoe in its truest sense is a tool that gets the job done tilling the soil. However, in American urban colloquialism it can reference someone being pimped by another person or a system.
This dehumanizing and traumatizing experience has become a part of the farmers daily existence just like the morning cup of coffee in hand. Farmers, migrant workers are truly warranted in their rage and grievances against the race based capitalist exploitive practices of unfair compensation and working conditions of corporate agriculture.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Essica Jolley lives in Atlanta Georgia. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. The literature of the oppressed and marginalized have greatly inspired her artwork. She is a self-taught artist and has been producing art and showing publicly in group art show and exhibits since 2018. She is artistically influenced by artists Betye Saar and Michael Ray Charles. Acrylic, spray paint, screen print and collage are her media of choice. Her works can fall under the following categories: abstract surrealism, brut/outsider and raw art.
Her artworks usually have a humorous slant but are used to exalt those that have been negated by racist ideology and to give a voice to those that have been systematically marginalized by western society.
© Essica Jolley