The Folk Tree's Dia de los Muertos exhibition features traditional altars honoring loved ones who have passed as well as installations dealing with broader issues. Also on view is a large selection of work in various media by local artists and folk art commemorating this major Mexican holiday, which falls on November 1 and 2. The public is invited to a reception on Saturday, October 10, from 2 - 6 P.M.
Ritualized worship of the dead has been practiced in Mexico since at least 1800 B.C. The modern observance is a combination of pre-Hispanic and Catholic influences. Day of the Dead participants prepare elaborate feasts and altars as offerings. A celebration of life and its aftermath, the holiday is a time of reflection and has inspired a rich folk art tradition.
Altars on view at The Folk Tree are often highly personal and include photographs and other mementos, letters, candles and offerings of food. In the past individuals have created altars for deceased family members, pets and other animals, famous individuals, anonymous victims of tragedy and violence, as well as altars dealing with social and environmental concerns.
This year, Carolyn Potter pays homage to family members in an altar that incorporates her gourd and polymer clay art. Johanna Hansen uses her painted narrative ceramics in an altar memorializing her son and mother. Nancy Ann Jones' altar is interactive - visitors are invited to write their own messages and tributes. Artist Patricia Krebs honors the "sons and daughters" of Mother Nature whose habitats and lives have been impacted by the Station Fire in the foothills north of Los Angeles. Students from a Pasadena middle school and Jewish elementary day school will create group altars.
Related work is on view by approximately forty artists, including watercolors by Esau Andrade, mosaic skulls by Mary Clark Camargo, cast bronze by Tamara Hensick, paintings by Rennie Rau Marquez, Felipe Davalos and Robert Palacios, metal sculpture by Robert Moore and much, much more. Also featured is jewelry focusing on Day of the Dead motifs by Alba Heredia and Lisa Rocha. And, Mexico City artist Joel Garcia's shows recent paper mache calavera creations.
Mexican folk art objects created for the Day of the Dead are sold in the streets throughout Mexico in the weeks preceding the holiday. Many examples of these items are available at The Folk Tree. They are often made of clay, paper maché, tin and sugar. Those forms most commonly found are skeletons and skulls, often decorated to include a person's name.
A time of celebration and contemplation, the appeal of the Day of the Dead holiday continues to spread outside its origins in Mexico. For its 26th consecutive year, The Folk Tree is pleased to participate once again in the observance of this rich tradition.
The Folk Tree is located at 217 South Fair Oaks Avenue, minutes walking distance from the Gold Line’s Del Mar station, and just south of Old Pasadena. Hours are: M-W, 11-6; Th-Sat,10-6; Sun, 12-5. For more information about the exhibition and related events, call 626/795-8733 or 626/793-4828.