MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – UC Merced is hosting a photodocumentary project titled, “Two Years of Heat and Covid in the San Joaquin Valley” by photographer David Bacon.

The exhibition will be at the UC Merced Library and consist of 67 black and white photographs and five oral history panels giving their context.

The subject of the exhibit is how the poverty levels in the San Joaquin Valley produced high COVID-19 infection rates and became hotspots. It concentrates on the daily lives of farmworkers and their families, including Filipino immigrants and in particular indigenous Mexican migrants, that did the essential labor that made sure food made it from the farm to markets and dinner tables. It also showcases that while COVID-19 created big risks and problems, in several ways many people lived in unhealthy conditions long before the pandemic.

This is a continuation of previous projects by Bacon and his organizational partners that documents the lives of indigenous farmworker communities.

The photographs were produced as a cooperative effort with the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, the Central Valley Empowerment Alliance, California Rural Legal Assistance, the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, and the United Farm Workers.

The exhibition started on October 1 and run through February 10, 2023, at the Leo & Dottie Kolligian Library, University of California, Merced.