“Arte y Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2017” to open at the California Museum’s Day of the Dead Party on Fri., Oct. 13
Original works by Lapiztola & La Sonrisa de La Muerte from Mexico & California artists Lurac & Oscar Magallanes to honor achievements of Latinos in activism, civil rights, science & the arts
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — Sept. 19, 2017: A journey through life, love and death, “Arte y Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2017” will open at the California Museum’s annual Day of the Dead Party on Fri., Oct. 13, 2017. Exploring the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring deceased loved ones that evolved from the Aztecs to modern-day California, the all-new exhibition features contemporary art and original altar installations by Lapiztola and La Sonrisa de La Muerte from Mexico and California artists Lurac and Oscar Magallanes honoring the achievements of Latinos in activism, civil rights, science and the arts.
A festive and social occasion, “Día de Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) is the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring deceased loved ones on Nov. 1 and 2 each year through creating “calaveras de azúcar” (sugar skulls), “altares de muertos” (altars of the dead) and “ofrendas” (offerings) welcoming the dead, and of recognizing the cycles of life and death. Developed from ancient traditions of the Aztecs, the annual ritual has evolved over the last 3,000 years to become a part of modern-day California’s culture, where celebrations take place annually in cities such as San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles.
“The California Museum is proud to join in celebrating Día de Los Muertos for a fourth time,” said Museum Executive Director Amanda Meeker. “This year, the work of California artists is on display alongside that of artists from Mexico, highlighting our common history and shared culture. The featured artists bring a modern perspective to an ancient tradition through their altars, which also provide the opportunity to learn about important figures in our state’s past.”
Representing a range of creativity, styles and mediums, the exhibition will include original works and contemporary altars by Lapiztola and La Sonrisa de La Muerte from Mexico and California artists Lurac and Oscar Magallanes. Installations by Lapiztola and Lurac pay tribute to Josefina Fierro de Bright (1914 -1998), organizer of California’s first Latino activism assembly in 1938, along with Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez (1916 – 1998 and 1913 – 1964), plaintiffs in 1947’s landmark case “Mendez v. Westminster” that set a legal precedent for ending school segregation. The ground-breaking artist Gilbert “Magu” Luján is remembered by Oscar Magallanes, while the remarkable achievements of botanist Ynes Mexia (1870 – 1938), who collected over 150,000 specimens and discovered two new plant species, is honored by Daniel Amora, Gabriel Sanchez-Avalos, Carlos Bautistab and Saskia Onvlee of La Sonrisa de La Muerte.
“Gilbert Luján was not just an influence on my work, but he also became a mentor to me when we both had our studios in the Pomona Artist Colony,” said Oscar Magallanes. “My first real education in art that was relevant to me came from ‘Magu;’ the conversations and work done in the ‘Mental Menudos’ he organized are the deepening roots that ground not only my art but also my outlook on life. He is missed, and in this altar, I hope [to] give some small honor to the man who contributed so much to the art world while staying true to the community.”
“I’m honored to be included in this exhibition, and to celebrate the legacy of Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez,” said Lurac. “I chose to remember them because their fight for access to quality education for all contributed to the desegregation of schools and is an inspiration to me as a human, and as a Mexican-American. I believe education is a human right under constant attack here in the U.S., as well as in other parts of the world.”
In addition to original works and altar installations, “Arte y Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2017” will also include a Community Altar providing the public an opportunity to remember a deceased loved one through Sat., Dec. 30, 2017. For more information, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/arte-almas.
Día de Los Muertos Fiesta 2017
Fri., Oct. 13, 2017 · 6:00-10:00 p.m.
Members of the public are invited to join the California Museum in celebrating Día de Los Muertos on Fri., Oct. 13, 2017. Highlights include the opening of “Arte y Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2017;” appearances by exhibit artists Saskia Onvlee, Roberto Vega, Lurac and Oscar Magallanes; performance by Maquilli Tonatiuh Aztec Dancers; music by Dinorah; food and beverages by Mayahuel; sugar skull decorating workshop; costume contest; free face painting for all attendees; hands-on activities for kids ages 5+ and more. Advance tickets $10.00 each, day-of door admission $20.00 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/dotd-party-2017.
Sugar Skull Workshop Series
Sat., Oct. 28 & Sun., Oct. 29, 2017
Learn how to decorate a “calaveras de azúcar” (sugar skulls) for “Día de Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) in one of five sessions of the California Museum’s Sugar Skull Workshop Series on Sat., Oct. 28 and Sun., Oct. 29. Advance registration and payment of $20.00 materials fee per person are required, each session limited to a maximum of 40 participants. Space permitting, workshop sessions may be purchased in the Museum Store on the day of the event. For more information or to register, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/skull-2017.
ABOUT CALIFORNIA MUSEUM:
A self-supporting 501(c)3 non-profit, the California Museum — home of the California Hall of Fame — engages, educates and enlightens people about California’s rich history and unique contributions to the world through ideas, innovation, the arts and culture. Through interactive and innovative experiences, the Museum inspires visitors to pursue the California dream and to make their own mark on history. Open Tues.-Sat. 10:00 a.m-5:00 p.m.; Sun.: 12:00-5:00 p.m.; closed Mondays (except on federal holidays). Admission: adults $9.00; college students & seniors $7.50 with valid ID; youth 6-17: $7.00; children 5 and under free. For more information, visit http//www.californiamuseum.org.
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