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The Kingdom of Dust/The People of Clouds

Matt Black | Mexico/United States

Weeding cotton. Allensworth, California, 2001.

The social ecology of agriculture, the relationship between land, people, food, and the environment -- and how they are changing -- are questions that lie at the core of these twin projects. The Kingdom of Dust is an exploration of industrial agriculture as practiced in California's Central Valley, whose gigantic farms feed millions with affordable food but whose approach to agriculture also breeds social and environmental ills: underpaid migrants, impoverished communities, polluted soils, and rivers sucked dry. The People of Clouds explores an older form of agriculture -- indigenous farm communities in the Mixteca mountains of Mexico. This ancient mode of farming, and its traditional way of life, is a culture that is rapidly disappearing. Free trade, environmental degradation, and migration are ravaging villages, leaving scores of communities little more than ghost towns. These two bodies of work address key questions for the next millennium: How do we relate to the land and people whose labor feeds us? How are we to sustain ourselves in a period of transformative environmental and social change?

Text by Anastasia Photo

All images by Matt Black courtesy Anastasia Photo (www.anastasia-photo.com)

email: mail (at) mattblack.com

Matt's limited editioned prints are sold through Anastasia Photo, New York, (link)
email: info (at) anastasia-photo.com.

Click here to read an interview with Matt Black by Caterina Clerici.

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