On a flattened produce box, Narsiso Martinez’s Cherry depicts a farmworker harvesting fruit. The commercial design and mechanically imprinted red plump cherries contrast with the hand-drawn weathered face of the worker, framed by their own hands. Clad with a bandana over their nose and a baseball cap and hoodie to withstand the inclement weather, the worker remains anonymous, identified only by the serial number branding their left hand. The name of the harvest in French and English underlines the necessity of their work across borders.
By choosing to portray farmworkers on produce boxes, Martinez equates the brownness of the cardboard and its fragility to the at-once vulnerable and indispensable immigrant field worker. Martinez came to the United States as an adult to pursue higher education and paid his tuition through agricultural work. He also draws attention to the nameless workers classified as “essential” by the federal government—those who kept our supermarkets stocked and helped prevent the agricultural industry from collapsing during the height of the pandemic.