This community-centered altar exhibit features traditional Mexican altars with sugar skulls, colorful tissue paper cutouts, and photos or personal items of deceased relatives to honor the souls of the departed. The Day of the Dead, an ancient religious celebration that originally honored children and ancestors, has evolved from a blend of Meso-American and Christian cultures, and those traditions come to life with this celebratory exhibition at FWMoA featuring memorials created by artists, families, and community groups from throughout the region.
Dia de los Muertos, the holiday, is considered a festive time when family members remember and honor their dead and the continuity of life. A series of artist and family-made altars fill a FWMoA gallery, often honoring deceased loved ones or groups of individuals who have died for a cause or as a result of persecution or injustice. Common symbols include colorful skeletal figures, laughing in the face of death, or the glamorous Catrina, based on a famous etching by Mexican printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada, which depicts a female skeleton dressed in aristocratic styles of Europeans of her time. This figure satirizes those Mexican natives who Posada felt were over imitating European traditions of the aristocracy in the pre-revolutionary era.