Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dia de los muertos @ Gallery 360

 Dia de los muertos / day of the dead celebration at Galery 360, Little Rock! Gallery 360 will open its doors to the celebration at 6:00 pm November 1, 1012. I will have 6 art quitls on exhibit and an altar installation. Please join us for the fiesta!

 Different conception of death
In Mexican culture there is a philosophical acceptance of death as an integral part of the cycle of life; death is just another phase of life itself. The ancient Mexicans philosophy and religion encompasses this duality in life and nature, life and death were linked in the journey from one world to the next. Instead of fearing death, it is embraced and considered a “moving-on” to a higher level of consciousness. Again this varies and is not a blanket statement but in my observations, research, and experiences this thought has been infused in various ways and manifests in different forms throughout generations

About dia de los muertos / day of the dead
  • Celebrated since before the arrival of the Conquistadors in 1500 B.C. in Mexico
  • Concepts of death and afterlife existed in the Olmec, Toltec, Maya, and Aztec cultures.
  • Special homage was designated to those warriors who died in battle, women who died during childbirth, children, and healers. It was believed they went to a special place where they enjoyed their afterlife. It was thought that their spirits returned to visit the living in the form of butterflies. Many celebrate the Monarch as the return of these loved ones. 
  •  It is not the Mexican version of Halloween or scary or morbid; there are no images of gory dead people, ghosts, or witches. It is a festive time.
  • It does not honor death or devils; the devil didn’t exist in ancient Mexico until Christianity arrived. It is not a cult and has nothing to with cults.
  • Dia de los muertos is different by region of the country and by degree of urbanization in Mexico and other Latin American countries.
  • It is a time for friends and family to remember those who are deceased.
  • It is a time to reflect upon our lives, our heritage, our ancestors and the meaning and purpose of our own existence.
  • Celebrated November 1st where children are remembered and November 2nd for adults.
Altars or personal remembrance spaces share community and personal history
Remembering friends, family, and historical individuals keeps their stories and memories alive. It provides an opportunity for those who do not know about them or their work to learn about someone significant in your life, a period in history, or tell a story of a community.

Traditional Three Levels Many Indigenous people believe in the 3 deaths. The first when the body ceases to function. Second is when the body is returned to the earth; we all are a part of nature. And the third and final death when there is no one left to remember us
  • Copal incense is burned to clear the path for spirits return; its strong aroma guides the spirits home. 
  • Marigolds and other flowers; Marigolds "the flower with 400 lives," were thought by the Aztec to symbolize death. It is believed that the scent of the petals forms a welcome path for the spirits to return to their altar or grave.
Tradition of salt, water, and favorite foods
  • ·A glass of water to quench the thirst after the journey from the other side.
  • Salt is considered the spice of life; it is provided for the dead to spice up things because the sense of taste may be lacking since they have been gone.
  • Fruits, favorite foods, and beverages of the deceased are prepared for the dead to feast on the aromas. The food is placed on the altar and stories are shared as is the food.
Personal Items
  • New clothing and grooming products such as soap, washcloth, comb for the dead to refresh after the long journey back. As well as a chair for resting.
  • Photos and items of the one being honored. Capture the essence of the person or persons being honored; include personal items cooking utensils, tools, games, toys, sewing items and so on.
  • Skeletons   By remembering the deceased each year we cheat the final death. This is the reason the skeletons are smiling.  Skeletons represent death and rebirth. They symbolize the “eternalness” of the soul or spirit of the deceased. Sugar skulls are reminders that memories are sweet!