Día de Muertos
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
For 2017 Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) Martha Naranjo Sandoval took over FluxFactory’s gallery to present an ofrenda.
Día de Muertos is a holiday that takes place in the south part of Mexico every year on November 1st and 2nd. It is a lively celebration that is both native Mexican and Catholic. It is supposed to be the night in which our deceased loved ones come back to this world to celebrate with us.
My mother’s parents died when she was very young and as an adult she lost a brother— Death was always a topic around my house growing up. Every Día de Muertos, my mom makes a little ofrenda (a traditional altar) in our house in honor of her loved ones. Apart from this small ofrenda, my community would always organize a very large one, every year following the traditions of a different state. Día de Muertos was always a colorful and aromatic occasion.
Moving to the United States meant less access to these traditions as my community became more diverse. Last year, in an effort to share this part of my life, I organized my own take on an ofrenda and invited member of my community to remember their lost loved ones.
Papel picado (colorful thin paper cut in traditional iconography), pictures of the deceased, and lit candles are parts of any traditional ofrenda. For this project I asked for pictures of the loved ones (or names when photos were not available); printed them in thin rice paper; and then hand-cut each one using papel picado designs as inspiration. I hung these unique, personalized papel picado from the ceiling at different shapes and heights and projected video of twinkling tea candles onto them. The nature of rice paper made the papel picado move with the wind, and the video of the candles would shine a light on different videos at different times.
This project honored over 90 loved ones and was up for 5 days during the 2017 Day of the Dead. It brought people from different moments in my life together and also community members and neighbors of Flux Factory. Visitors were also invited to remember their own loved ones by writing their names and messages for them on a wall painted with chalkboard paint.
Exhibition Designer: Helena Moreno Brown
Flux Factory is a Long Island City organization whose mission is to support and promote emerging artists through residencies, exhibitions, and collaborative opportunities; build sustainable artist networks; and help retain creative forces in New York City.