Moisés Méndez Lara


Empacadoras (Packers)






21.5 x 29.5


Self-adhesive labels on paper

Credits: Moisés Méndez Lara

The work Empacadoras, by Mexican artist Moisés Méndez Lara, is part of the interdisciplinary project Sociedad frutal (Fruit Society) on the political implications of the fruit market, which includes several works with bananas. Empacadoras refers directly to the banana trade in the Mexican context. On a fruit transporting cardboard box from a foreign multinational, Méndez Lara has stuck 24 self-adhesive labels with the name, photo, and ID number of women who work packing bananas in Mexico for export companies. This mosaic of black and white portraits made by webcams functions not only as a testimony to the usually hidden work of women in banana factories but also as an archive of the use of technology (ID numbers, webcams, etc.) in the control practices exercised by corporations over their employees. In this sense, while it could be assumed that the commercial purpose of including these labels on the banana boxes is to humanize the fruit production chain so the consumer feels the illusion of knowing the person who packed it, the fact is that an ID number, a name, and a black and white, low-resolution portrait together suggests prison system ID cards and thus make these women appear to be literal and figurative prisoners of a system oppressing them.