What gives life it’s flavor? So delicate & frail our mortal body’s are, yet we live like we are giants. Humans have wandered this Earth for only a few thousand years; a mere blink of an eye in the grand span of time. Still, our individual existence seems to be an endless stream of experiences & interactions with one another. We ride the highs, feeling as if our feet are above the ground and we can accomplish anything; the moments themselves seem like they can last forever. We feel the frigid lows and harsh realities of life, too, when we endure emotional agony and are distraught from the course of our lives, wishing that the moments would just end and a new sun to rise. What empowers us to feel such extremes and to live so passionately? What allows us to drift through life, constantly seeking a suitable happiness that fits our needs? So intricate this life can be, with our cell-phones, computes, cars, and cities. What is it that continually feeds our flames of desire & pushes us to work tirelessly in pursuit of our soul’s desire? The answer, amigos, is death. The antithesis of life, death is the threat that tomorrow is not guaranteed, the imminent fate that regardless of origin, orientations, religion, class or color, we all share. Where does the soul go when the sun sets? That we do not know & probably never will. But what we do with the time we are given, as well as the people we touch, will allow us to live on forever.
Many culture’s traditions and rituals vary when it comes to the passing of loved ones. Refection is a path that some take, while others mourn. Mexican culture celebrates the deaths of those who have passed by looking back on the life of the individual that has gone. We do this by coming together, praying and reminiscing in a celebration called Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This tradition is typically celebrated November 1st & 2nd, in conjunction with All Saints Day and All Souls Day. As the tradition has garnered momentum and gained popularity up north in the states, the celebration has become year round, especially in the months of October and November. Traditionally, family and friends of those who have passed gather memorabilia, including food and other trinkets that the deceased enjoying using or doing and places these items on alters and graves, offering these to the souls of their loved ones.
This tradition is on that my family has celebrated year after year. We always come together to reflect on those who have left us & it is a constant reminder of not only those who have left us but also how precious these moments we have with on another are and how finite life is.
That is why I was ecstatic when Jess Young over at SOMArts Center invited me over to the opening reception for Illuminations: Dia de los Muertos 2011. The SOMArt’s mission is to promote and nurture art on the community level, and to foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures, which we respect over at EBX. The exhibit hit the nail on the head! Inspired by Picasso, the event was a melodious blend of people, art, music, and food. From the second we walked in, to the second we walked out, all our senses were stimulated. My eyes feasted upon the altars and dedication pieces, which were contributed by over 80 Bay Area Artists. The beautiful thing about the altars was that they not only highlighted personal losses, but also losses that the world has endured as a whole. Artist’s used a masterful blend of mediums, ranging from paint and paper mache to actual persons and projectors. The flow of the exhibit lead you down a twisted path of festive memorials, each one unique to its own and provoking much thought and reflection. Up, down, left, and right. No matter which way you looked, you were engaged with dedications that told stories of lives passed.
But the festivites did not end there! We also enjoyed a wonderful performance by a group of talented entertainers. Live singing, guitar, and dancing brought the spirits of all who were in attendance together in a sense of hypnotic mesmerization. The group, whos name I have forgotten unfortunately, was emmensely talented and put on a wonderful show. Last, and hardly least, we can not forget Mr. Picasso, who was doing live painting sessions on stage! Also, there was beer, wine, a taco truck and face painting for los ninos.
The Illuminations: Dia de los Muertos 2011 exhibit at SOMArts is open till November 5, 2011. Make sure to visit this celebration of life and culture, you will neither regret the time you spend nor the money donated to a noble cause.
What was your favorite part of the exhibit? Gracias ~