Mexicans have a special ritual that is called the day of the dead. It is a celebration of the life of the departed members of society. The holiday is between October 31st and 2nd November all throughout the central and Southern regions of Mexico; it is also celebrated by other Mexicans who moved to the United States. This celebration is accepted worldwide across many cultures; it is celebrated by family members and friends in prayer for the dead to help them in their spiritual journey. In this exhibition, every artist showed their imagination about death in multiple ways. This year the theme of the show is called the journey of the soul. Cesareo Monreno is a curator and visual artists who will lead this years celebration at and the exhibition In the National Museum. There are hundreds of artworks from both expert artists and untrained artists from the community at large. I think the exhibition is a success because it shows the commemoration of the deceased and how artists work hard to let people know the importance of the life cycle of a human being.
The exhibition has three rooms, in the first room, there are variant media artworks, such as wall hanging paintings, sculptures, and photography. There is a wall showing what the exhibition is about and give the public a brief description on the Day of the Dead. The second room includes photography artworks on the left side of the room; a photo art is placed close to the entrance, and this is the first view after entering the room. In the third room, there are installations and sculptures that represent the departed souls. This section contains portraits of celebrities who passed away in major or significant events along with some ordinary people as well. Each room serves the purpose of illustrating different themes of the celebrations, the focus of the ceremony is on celebrating important leaders, musicians, industrialist, rights activists and religious leaders. The artworks in the rooms can illustrate their lives while alive and their greatest achievements,
One of the art installations on the walls is that of Monica Trinidad; she worked on a wall portrait with the Black Lives Matter activist group. When I saw this installation, I noticed the names of the people who were killed by the police in Mexico and the United States of America. This portrait illustrates racial police brutality in the current society. The lighting in the rooms gave the impression of the souls of the dead floating over the ceiling. This gave the impression of transcendence from mortality to immortality. There are three black rectangles; two of them intersect with one another, the other is elevated vertically. The rectangles here is used to symbolize the gravestones erected on the graves of the deceased; this illustrates respect and identity for the dead. The rectangles are fitted with colorful paper flowers all around them. On the top of the rectangles, two paper cuts one yellow in color and the other Blue in color bearing the words Black Lives Matter. Monica Trinidad with other members of the BLM group are passing the message to society that blacks also matter, and the killings should come to a halt. The paper cuts are suggesting that black people have equal human right with the white men as we are all equal and created in the image of God or Allah for the Islamic Societies. The message is that all individuals must be respected and racial prejudice should not lead to the loss of innocent lives. The BLM agenda and the Day of the Dead celebrations match up in the sense that we are celebrating the loss of loved ones. The Black Lives Matter group agenda at the exhibition is to celebrate the death of innocent lives and to admonish killings of black people in America.
Moreover, the artworks in the exhibition not only show the viewers the sadness in death but also the beauty of life, the portraits contain messages of hope and peace to the viewers. One of the most beautiful photography is A Father and son by Pam Bacich, the background of the photograph depicts a night scene where a father and son are in a cemetery. They both are calm and well composed; the picture depicts a position of prayer and dedication. They are seated leaning, the soon looks upon the grave, this shows that they have much respect and adoration for the deceased. The fathers eyes gaze towards the audience in a way that indicates that he is inviting them to come for a communal prayer session. Candles and flowers illuminate the dark night hence giving the portrait a brighter look. The candles represent life and hope, wishing the deceased to rest peacefully, they also represent a show of lighting the way for the departed souls on their journey to the spirit world. In this photo, the candles are lit as a show of hope for a better day despite the hard pangs of the loss of a loved one. The father and son photograph illustrates the loss of a loved one for instance; a mother, brother or sister.
Finally, I think the Day of the Dead: Journey of the Soul is a great exhibition, the depiction of the Day of the Dead through the artwork of deceased people, portraits of families grieving and the transition into the spirit world. The celebration passes the message that the deceased are in a better place and the living should always celebrate the moments they had to share with them. The exhibition was an interesting fair, I not only got to learn about this Mexican culture but is also got to learn how important life is and we should cherish every moment we are above ground. Peace and Justice are depicted by Artwork of the Black Lives Matter group; it depicts injustices in society that needs to be eradicated. Justice cannot be achieved without a fight; it is important that we stand up and fight against police brutality. The exhibitionist at the museum did a great work in theme designs for each room, each artwork at the exhibition brought out the sentimentality of life and how much we should value the lives of others.
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