The annual Día de los Muertos exhibit is now available for viewing at The National Museum of Mexican Art.
The holiday which goes from October 31 to November 2nd, is a widely celebrated traditional Mexican holiday that honors people who have died by constructing altars, topped with photos and mementos to invite their spirits back.
The exhibit, which is open to the public until December 11th, will feature ofrendas, sculptures, and additional exhibits from American and Mexican artists. This is the 36th year the museum will honor the holiday, and is curated by Dolores Mercado. This years gallery will feature a variety of ofrendas, along with visual installations, various sculptures, and photographs. An ofrenda designed by students and teachers from Moos Elementary on Chicago’s North Side honor the 19 children and two teachers who were killed in the Uvalde, Texas shooting in May. The oenda shows a classroom setting decorated with 19 butterflies and two angels to represent the victims, along with toys, and bios on each victim lost. This somber, serious and moving piece is sure to garner an emotional reaction.
Each year, curators do extensive research and travel to decide what to feature, Mercado said. One gallery room is dedicated to pieces of ‘arte popular’ or popular art, a traditional style of Mexican art covering textiles, pottery, painting or photography. Sculptures showing the tree of life, along with a mold to make calaveras (skulls) are also available to view. There’s also an ofrenda honoring popular artists from Mexico who passed within the last year.
Outside of the exhibition space, you’ll find a mural of three grieving women, painted by three artists from the University of Guanajuato in Mexico. “What Was Taken from Us” is a vibrant, yet somber piece inspired by famous Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide.
Another ofrenda, designed by the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, shows pieces from the institute’s Protest Art Exhibition, and feature traditional Ukrainian art and flyers with phrases encouraging peace. There’s an ofrenda, designed by local artist Carlos Flores, is dedicated to essential frontline workers lost during the pandemic.
While the holiday is traditionally meant for families to welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives, some of the pieces in this exhibit may elicit emotional responses. The National Museum of Mexican Art, which is free to all, is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM.
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