‘Born Again Labor Museum’ in Carbondale showcases stories, struggles of working class


The exhibit "Bigfoot Resurrects the Screens" sits on display at the Born Again Labor Museum in Carbondale Ill.

Kallie Cox

CARBONDALE ―The Born Again Labor Museum, on East Main Street next to the Hemp-N-Stuff head shop, is a cozy home to revolutionary ideas and art work honoring the struggles of the working class. 

Tish and Adam Turl are artists and the founders of Carbondale’s Born Again Labor Museum. Tish studies creative writing at SIU and Adam graduated from SIU with a degree in art. 

The first Born Again Labor Museum was started in the 20th century in 1942, according to the museum’s website. Tish and Adam decided to restart the museum in 2019 in Las Vegas and then brought it to Carbondale when they relocated. 

In September of 2021, the two took over the space in Carbondale for the museum. Now, each wall is filled with art memorializing unions, labor struggles and the plight of workers. 

When you step through the doors of the museum, you’ll be greeted by cartoons and protest signs plastered over every inch of the walls. In the room on the left, you’ll see “Burger King Parking Lot’s Wife” — a statue made of salt packets, with red biohazard bags on the wall behind it. There’s also a statue of Bigfoot surrounded by broken cell phones. 

In the room on the right you’ll notice more paintings, a construction vest hung on a clothing wire next to art prints, a vigilant bald eagle and mining hats on cones. In the back are books hanging from the ceiling, protest signs, the wounded tool library, an alien, a guillotine, "a memorial to the work day," and much more.

Tish said the space is supposed to be in reverence of the working class.

“What is repeatedly taken from us and done to us and we sort of play a lot with resurrection and, and retelling stories that are forgotten,” Tish said.

Adam said people often defer their dreams and expectations in life because they have to make ends meet and spend more time at their jobs.

“So we wanted to create a space where we can look at that. And obviously, this is our imagining. Other people could imagine different things. …what if all those dreams came back to life?” Adam said. “What if everybody who’s ever had to work 12 hours a day … what if everybody who got screwed over by a boss, everybody who’s been oppressed by the system, you know, could come back? This is our imagination of that.”

Most of the art in the museum is made by Adam and Tish and has taken them several years to create. They said they hope to someday open the space up to other artists. Some of the inspiration for their art comes from everyday objects, like their Wounded Tool Library.

The exhibit "Bigfoot Resurrects the Screens" sits on display at the Born Again Labor Museum in Carbondale Ill.

Kallie Cox

They create paintings, collages and sculptures that respond to specific things and ideas, Adam said. 

“But we also want them all to be related to each other because one of the problems we have with traditional art galleries is you put an isolated object on the wall and it removes it from social context. But by putting it in relationship with other things, it’s like a crowd, it’s no longer alone,” Adam said.

When the museum opens, Adam and Trish hope community groups can use it for events and organizing. 

Trish said there aren’t a lot of spaces where individuals can go and not be expected to pay, so they hope to make this a place without a time limit or expectation of payment when gathering. 

Adam and Trish hope to open their doors to the public in the beginning of February. More information about the museum can be found on its website at: https://www.bornagainlabor.com/

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Region: Southern,Local,City: Carbondale,Region: Carbondale

via The Southern

December 27, 2021 at 10:36PM

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