The Maude Kerns Art Center celebrates the 27th annual Día de los Muertos Exhibit in 2020 with artwork, community altars, and a special Day of the Dead Gift Shop. The exhibit, which can be viewed in person or online, is on display through Monday, November 2.
The Mexican Day of the Dead celebration acknowledges the link between the communities of the living and the dead. The holiday blends the ancient harvest rituals of the Aztec god of death and the Roman Catholic holidays of All Souls and All Saints days. On November 1 and 2, the dead are thought to return to partake in the activities of the living. Holiday activities include the creation of altars that welcome deceased loved ones.
The 2020 Día de los Muertos Exhibit features 29 artists, displaying artwork in a variety of two- and three-dimensional media, including watercolor, acrylic and oil painting, paperclay sculpture, photography, silk painting, intaglio and linocut prints, assemblage, art quilts, fabric and embroidery, and mixed media.
Eugene artist Mija Andrade exhibits a group of dolls in this year’s Día de los Muertos Exhibit. Andrade has been influenced by trips to Oaxaca, Mexico where she experienced the Día de los Muertos holiday. Enthralled by the colors, people, arts, clothing, and culture, Andrade says she was able to connect in a deeper way with her Mexican heritage. The experience of the Día de los Muertos celebration in Oaxaca continues to inspire her art and her creative direction.
Silverton, Oregon artist Mavis Leahy shows three of her fiber/mixed pieces this year. A self-taught artist, Leahy grew up in Los Angeles, where the Día de los Muertos celebration continues to be an important part of the city’s heritage. Her pieces, which are created from found objects, antique and vintage textiles, embroidery, and quilting, are rich and evocative expressions that honor the departed.
Eugene artist Alan Ott exhibits a sculpture titled Corona Queen, made of repurposed jeep struts and welded steel. Ott’s piece is very tall with a long predatory beak. It hovers ominously over most people of average height. Corona Queen is envisioned as the taker of life and is dedicated to those who have died or suffered from the horrors of COVID-19.
In addition to artwork, the Día de los Muertos Exhibit includes five altars created by individuals and community groups. The Art Center’s Duchess Committee presents an altar in honor of Maude I. Kerns; Hannah Goldrich, Marion Malcolm, and Carol Van Houten display a large altar dedicated to Steven Deutsch, one of the founders of the UO’s Labor and Education Center; Patricia Cortez presents a special hanging altar, a Día de los Muertos tradition popular in parts of Morelos, Mexico; Mija Andrade’s ofrenda, which she is making with her mother, honors “Las Gran Tias,” the great aunts important in her life; and Toni Goldenberg creates an altar dedicated to her sister.
A Day of the Dead Gift Shop presented by Suzanne Algara of Buganvilla Imports features authentic crafts created by Mexican artists, including Catrina figures, Day of the Dead dogs, nichos (decorative religious altars), milagros (charms), an array of skulls, and more.
Online video tours of the Día de los Muertos Exhibit for children and adults will be available on the Art Center’s website at www.mkartcenter.org.
The Maude Kerns Art Center is adhering to all State of Oregon and Oregon Health Authority guidelines. The Día de los Muertos Exhibit can be viewed in person and online at www.mkartcenter.org. Artwork may also be purchased through the Art Center’s website.