Invisible bodies, invisible labor: a rhetorical analysis of Ramiro Gomez’s cut-outs

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University of Alabama Libraries

Latino/a communities have used art, like the mural, as a way to showcase life in the United States. Similarly, Ramiro Gomez, a first-generation Mexican-American artist, crafted a series of cardboard Cut-Outs around Los Angeles to humanize undocumented bodies and labor. Gomez’s work forces both, Latino/a and non-Latino/a audiences, to confront their perceptions towards these invisible people and their labor. Rhetorical critics have looked at the power of the visual as a form to communicate meaning. By establishing a series of theoretical frameworks connecting vernacular discourses, critical rhetoric and visual rhetoric this study engages the artwork of Ramiro Gomez. This study looks into the ways Gomez’s Cut-Outs render undocumented bodies and labor into subjectivity in American spaces. Through examining a collection of his Cut-Outs from his biographical book Domestic Scenes: The Artwork of Ramiro Gomez, this study looks at how these art pieces created, placed and disposed of in American spaces. Second, this study analyzes the rhetoric surrounding Latino/a communication studies, critical rhetoric, vernacular discourses and visual rhetoric. Additionally, it will provide context of the United States current relationship with immigration. As a result, by analyzing Gomez’s artwork, this study will explore what his images contribute to communication studies regarding undocumented bodies and Latino/a communication studies.

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