Not to be confused with Halloween, Dia de los Muertos is the other holiday that will be celebrated this weekend. The event, which has roots in Indigenous Latin American traditions that were co-opted by the Catholic Church during the colonization of the Spanish empire, has grown in popularity here in the Twin Cities, perhaps due to our rising Latino population.
Still, we wanted to give a heads up of some cool things that are going on this next week, all of which we believe have some connection to the Latino community and/or feature artists of color.
Parkway Theatre, 4814 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis.
Each year, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts partners with several Minnesota schools for the Young People's Ofrendas program, drawing on the Dia de los Muertos tradition. Students from El Colegio and Washburn in Minneapolis, Humboldt Senior High in St. Paul, and Austin High School have participated in the program, which includes learning about art, memory, and diverse cultural practices honoring the dead. It all culminates in the creation of their own personal, contemporary ofrendas. The student work will be on display in the Katherine Kierland Herberger Gallery 110 at the museum through November.
One of the sponsors of the Festival de las Calaveras event at Parkway Theatre is the Color Wheel Gallery, which is based in the Kingfield neighborhood. They'll be hosting their own Dia de los Muertos event on Sunday. The afternoon includes art inspired by the holiday, plus sweet treats. The day of activities includes mask-making, and a chance to create tissue flowers and collage art. Artists include Tammy Ortegon, Gordon Coons, Eileen Connor, Eddie Ortegon, and Eileen Espinosa.
Over at the Minnesota History Center, check out the work of Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913), a Mexican artist, illustrator, and engraver. In addition to creating images of outlaws, fugitives, demons, and matadors, his body of work mainly depicts calaveras, a.k.a. skeletons. These works were often used to satirize the rich and the political climate at the time, though these days his pieces and general aesthetic are strongly associated with Dia de los Muertos.
For Free First Saturday at the Walker Art Center, the museum has planned a day of activities and performances celebrating the Dia de los Muertos. The day's events, curated by Allison Herrera, include art-making activities such as monoprinting and calavera-making with clay, foil, and markers. There will also be an ofrenda, created by Maria Cristina Tavera, in honor of Americo, a Mexican street artist who lived in Minneapolis for 20 years and who recently passed away after returning to Mexico. There will be a puppet shows at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. performed by Julie and Gustavo Boada, from In the Heart of the Beast, and music by local DJ Miguel Vargas.