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The modern observance of the holiday, El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), stems from both pre-Hispanic and Catholic influences. Ritualized worship, inclusive of the dead, has been practiced in Mexico since, perhaps earlier than 1800 B.C. Its origins can be traced to the indigenous peoples of Mexico such as Aztecs, Maya, Nahua and Totonac, later combining with Spanish Colonial Catholicism. This major Mexican holiday, which falls on All Souls Day(s), November 1 and 2, is a time of remembrance, reflection and celebration, both of life and the hereafter. While commemorating and connecting with the departed, much artwork that has emerged from this tradition is simultaneously festive and embracing of images of death.

El Camino College Art Gallery celebrates Day of the Dead with Recuerdos Vividos , presenting altars and artworks by 29 artists from So Cal, honoring loved ones who have passed away, as well as images that address broader contemporary issues. In addition to traditional altar making, this exhibition includes installation, painting, printmaking, collage, mosaic work, sculpture, photography and folk art works in clay, sugar and paper mache. The artworks and altars in Recuerdos Vividos are sometimes highly personal, incorporating photographs, mementos, flowers, letters, candles and offerings of food, welcoming the departed souls to partake of this festivity in their honor. At times these altars and artworks extend to include famous people, anonymous victims of tragedy and violence, beloved pets, as well as altars and images that focus on historical, social or environmental issues.

Please join us for the gala reception: Pre-Hispanic Music by Martin Espino and
Puppet Procession by Beth Peterson.

  • Edith Abeyta presents a mixed media installation with large scale silhouette of tree festooned with hanging skulls
  • Rita Almanza shows a personal altar dedicated to her mother, with flowers, sunny window, memorabilia and photographs
  • Donna Angers shows a n acrylic painting of a pieta with Michael Jackson in the arms of the Virgin Mary
  • Mary Clark-Camargo shows large scale mosaic decorated skulls
  • Jarno De Bar displays delicate drawing with personal images of spirit life in watercolor and ink
  • Matt De Haven presents an altar dedicated to ancient Irish warrior queen, Morrigan in mixed media with photos and feathers
  • Raoul De la Sota Large exhibits painting depicting the symbolic genesis of the Day of the Dead in addition to 2 small MM homages to dedicated to the departed
  • Lawrence R. Garcia exhibits mixed media installation with photographic image of self crucified in addition to a MM urn/homage to his deceased father
  • Daniel Gonzalez Lineout print in black and white of traditional Catarina figure
  • Betsy Lohrer Hall Small mixed media collage dedicated to a departed friend
  • Richard Hall Lyrical black and white drawings of skeletons
  • Amy Inouye This ancient fossil, acts as conduit in connecting to the departed-a touchstone that also salutes the artist's Japanese heritage
  • Joyce Kohl's massive stair stepped adobe and steel altar is an homage to her deceased husband, Bill Morse
  • Patricia Krebs large-scale painting depicts the folly and spoils of war
  • Mavis Leahy shows whimsical embroidered drawings of skeletal figures in context
  • Peter Liashkov exhibits elegant collage done in mixed media with antique postcard as ground
  • Pola Lopez shows mixed media collage/small scale
  • Poli Marichal and Marianne Sadowski present complex black and white linocut prints of roiling landscapes with skeletal figures and, in collaboration with Victor Rosas, the three artists present mixed media installation dedicated to the children of Somalia
  • Rennie Rau Marquez presents fanciful and humorous Day of the Dead images in m/m
  • Daniel F. Martinez presents a personal altar dedicated to his mother, which includes photos, memorabilia, flowers, candles and food
  • Kathy Mas-Gallegos shows personal homage to deceased family members, done in mixed media
  • Miguel Angel Murillo shows mixed media altar/construction with Barbie Dolls and pencils, homage to the abuse of women in Latin America
  • Robert Palacios shows large scale painting of traditional skeletal DOD imagery
  • Beth Peterson heroic scale street puppets of Day of the Dead skeletons
  • Gloria Plascencia photographs of costumed individuals celebrating DOD
  • Stuart Rapeport shows mixed media construction honoring a departed pet dog
  • Laughing Horse Robinson displays Kawaiisu tribal drums and Ghost Dance ceremonial clothing
  • Katrin Wiese shows small scale oil painting depicting her own dark whimsy of death readying a soul for departure.
  • Folk Art from Mexico loaned by the Folk Tree, Pasadena, CA
  • Special thanks to Gail Mishkin for all of her help in making this gathering of artists possible and to Rocky Behr , the owner of the Folk Tree, for generous loan of folk art works for this exhibition

SUSANNA MEIERS
Curator El Camino College Art Gallery

Alter by Rita Almanza, dedicated to her mother
mixed media; 7.5' x 6.5' x 4' ; 2011
Raoul De la Sota; My Grandmother
mixed media;
38" x 26"
Raoul De la Sota; Salvador
mixed media;
26" x 32"; 2011


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 Last Published 12/14/11