Thursday, November 8, 2018

Day of the Dead : Ofrendas

We really enjoyed the ofrendas at this year's Day of the Dead celebration in Phoenix, Arizona. Day of the Dead is not meant to be a sad or frightening holiday, but an uplifting time to remember loved ones who have died.  An ofrenda ("offering") is a collection of objects placed on a ritual display. We've often talked about Day of the Dead quilts, but these ofrendas are mixed media works of art.  We're including the descriptions so you can read about each of these fantastic creations.

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Teotl Tonauac by Marco Albarran

The larger-than-lifesize carved figure is embellished with everyday items: hair combs, cloths pins, and bits of metal, as shown below. The heart is depicted with flames around it and with sticks, akin to daggers, through the heart, as is common in Mexican folk art.

Ometecuhtli by Patrick Murillo

Male and female aspects of Ometecuhtli are depicted in the beautifully painted portraits by Patrick Murillo. In keeping with tradition, marigolds, candles, sugar skulls, and corn were used on this ofrenda, which was also decorated with papel picado.

Ometecuhtli by Patricia Silva

The lighted figures, representing opposing forces in the Aztec universe, are wearing elaborate feather headdresses.  They are lighted with a rotating light source that gives them an ethereal, otherworldly appearance.

Patricia Silva says,  "I feel we live in a time where we have chosen to forget about a higher power in which we all were created from.  Whatever your beliefs may be, there is one thing we all share.  We could not exist today without the sun and the moon, male and female, motion and stillness, order and chaos.  My hope is that we learn soon the importance of the balance of all these opposing factors."

El Sol y La Luna (The Sun and The Moon) by Edgar Fernandez

This striking painting depicts the sun and moon as stylized figures, using Aztec imagery in a modern way.  Edgar Fernandez says, "Within this Ofrenda, I have embraced the ancestral importance of how the sun and moon are in union and one cannot exist without the other.... My ancestors captured the beauty of all life in a spiritual way and they understood and celebrated the sacred duality in community and ceremony."

Dualities by Martin Moreno

The images in this altar appear in many of Martin Moreno's works; the balance and harmony of man and woman, yin and yang, life and death. The purple sign urged visitors to "Honor Your Ancestors"; Take a rose petal, write the name of a loved one who has passed on and place it on the altar."  Many visitors participated, as you can see from the piles of petals.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona.

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