With our 3rd annual Dia de los Muertos 2023, our aim was to create a dialogue of cultural identity through community collaboration to remember, honor, and celebrate life and death. Inspired by cherished relationships and personal and/or collective histories, this practice is spiritual and thought-provoking, perhaps even transformative in that we were moved forward with forgiveness or closure. More importantly, through gratitude and celebration, our memories of our loved ones are kept alive in our hearts by creating an altar. These altars, "ofrendas," are in the tradition of ancient rituals, an amalgamation of Meso-American practice and the Spanish religion.
This year, we incorporated the Catholic religion's "cardinal sins" with their Seven Deadly Sins and quotes to focus on our lively vices. Our journeys from birth to death are what make us individuals. We are influenced by our hearts, minds, and the cultures we live in, love in, and ultimately die in. We are united in our experiences of being born, living, and dying.
CURATOR & EVENT COORDINATOR Magué Calanche
ARTISTS ON 9 ALTARS
Malin Alegria y Sylvia Ramirez, Claudia Portillo Vergara
Belen Lafon, Jeanne Dowd, Elizabeth Ashcroft, Theresa Lopez, Rebecca Peters, Elizabeth Ashcroft, Howard Munson, Pamela Pitt, Susan Weisberg, and Magué Calanche
PHOTOGRAPHY Dennis Hearne
Colectivo CalleSon , Eduardo Corso piano,
Claudia Portillo Vergara-Cello,
And more music contributions by:
Mauro Ffortissimo, Eric Shrifrin, Danny Brown,
Alison Lovejoy, and more...
iPad drawn with Procreate, originally drawn as spots for
The 7 Deadly Sins book for Macmillan Publishing,
author Steven Schwartz
Ink, pastel on paper
The 7 Deadly Sins for Macmillan Publishing
author Steven Schwartz | Available as a Set
In our second year in SunnyCo Studio Gallery, we honored loved ones who transitioned in 2022. We celebrated one of Mexico's most cherished traditions—Dia de Los Muertos—with altars, handmade installations, living sculptures, masks, music, paintings, photography, and videos. In particular, we honored the life of my niece Erin Norman Muñoz, whose life was tragically taken by a reckless car driver. The main altar consisted of a handmade crepe piñata dress that Erin had created and would have worn to this event. The third altar consisted of six handsewn totomoxtle (corn husks) aprons representing a month in the life of joyful motherhood as an homage to Erin.
CURATOR & ALTARS Magué Calanche
Assistants | Eric & Joanna Norman, Bertha & Danny Norman
LIVING ALTARS Julie Bushnesll,
Dan Brockmeir, Magué Calanche
Naomi Corwin, LaShaune Fitch,
David Peters, Connie Rubiano,
Cintia & Gustavo Vasquez
PINATA DRESS Erin Norman Muñoz
CORN HUSK APRONS Magué Calanche
HANDMADE BOOKS Howard Munson & Magué Calanche
VIDEOS Howard Munson
ACCORDIONIST Cintia Chavez
PHOTOGRAPHY Dennis Hearne