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Detroit Institute of Arts to exhibit Ofrendas Oct. 24–Nov. 2

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will exhibit 28 ofrendas created by local artists from Friday, Oct. 24, to Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. An ofrenda (offering) is an essential part of the traditional Mexican Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) holiday, a day to remember and honor the memory of deceased loved ones.


Ofrendas consist of a collection of objects meaningful to the deceased and placed on altars as a welcome to those being remembered or honored. They are traditionally decorated with ornate sugar skulls, flowers, favorite foods, mementos and pictures of the deceased. Some contemporary versions have gone beyond the tradition and have been created as a way to pay homage not only to people but also to places, moments in time, ideas and events that people feel are worth commemorating.

Themes for the DIA ofrendas include: memorials to family members and friends; victims of violent crime; the origins of the Mexican ofrenda tradition; artists; celebrities; Mexican women dedicated to the arts, science, politics and social activism; missing women in the towns on the Mexican-American border; pets; immigrants who died while traveling to the United States; Detroit’s abandoned buildings; and the United States Postal Service (USPS), among others.

The altars will be constructed from a variety of media, including found objects, ceramics, seeds, photographs, sand, beads and paper flowers, and range in size from one foot to 10 feet tall.

The DIA put out a call to artists for proposals, and submissions were judged by a panel that included Latino artists and community members, including Detroit City Council member Raquel Castaneda-López and Rubén Millan Mayorga, administrator at the Consulate of México in Detroit. The artists chosen for the exhibition have wide-ranging experiences and occupations—seasoned artists, teachers, students, veterans and entrepreneurs. Many have designed ofrendas for other museums, galleries and community centers.

Participating artists will discuss their ofrendas in a public talk on Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. at the DIA.

For more information about the artists and the concepts of their altars, contact Larisa Zade at [email protected].

Credit for attached image: An ofrenda from last year’s display at the DIA by Sanja Srdanov’s 12th grade class from LaSalle, Ontario.


Copyright © 1989 to 2014 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/14/14 06:21:08 -0700.




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