Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead was originally a month long celebration where the indigenous peoples of Mexico celebrated the return of their ancestors and family members who had passed away. The dead are honored through costume, lavish altars, colorful flowers, food and more. All items were gathered to help guide the dead back to our world for that limited time.
In honor of this very ancient ceremony, our vision is to provide an experience and space for people of all cultural backgrounds to participate by honoring, mourning, and celebrating their ancestors and passed loved ones together as a community. Neither myself nor my art partner are of Mexican descent, but both we both understand the importance of celebrating and honoring the ones that came before us.
The 2014 theme was "Our Lives Matter: The untimely deaths of our people". As a collective community the participants will acknowledge and mourn the deaths of identified and unidentified migrants across the globe that have left their homelands due to gang violence, extreme poverty, or life and job opportunities. The artist’s intent are to honor both the physical and spiritual forms of migration from one land to another/from one world to another and empower communities not to be divided, but to stand together and build a collective voice and proclaim "Our Lives Matter."
We built an installation and community altar that played a vital role in the viewer’s interactive experience. Space was provided for visitors to bring their own items to be placed on the altar, as well as space on the walls surrounding the altar to write messages to their passed lost loved ones. Additional art was on display around the room and an Augmented Reality installation.
A ceremonial performance and traditional blessing of the altar performed by “Cetilizti Nauchampa Quetzacoalt In Ixachiltlan“ during the opening reception. In addition, dressed in costume and makeup in traditional Dia de los Muertos fashion, Ase Music performed dance theater from the African Diaspora.