Calaveras en mi Ciudad 
Curated by Alexis Newton with local artists
Buell Theatre Lobby
Oct. 17, 2022 - Nov. 13, 2022

Calaveras en Mi Ciudad photo 5.jpg

Calaveras en Mi Ciudad is an annual mobile art exhibit curated by art leader Alexis Newton that celebrates and pays tribute to Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday of remembrance in Mexico.

The exhibit is a collaboration with eight Colorado-based Latino artists who were invited to participate: Anthony Garcia Sr., Armando Silva, Chelsea Lewinski, Juls Mendoza, Karma Leigh, Norberto Mojardin, Xencs L. Wing and Charlo G. Walterbach, all who hand-painted the calaveras. The papier-mâché mold of the calaveras was created by the artist Ricardo Soltero. Each calavera is a personal statement that is unique to its creator – each expressing a visual story of who they are, where they come from and how they place themselves within the ancestral tradition of Día de los Muertos.

Each year the calaveras are placed on exhibit in the Denver Metro area (and in 2021 in Breckenridge as well), at locations that can be enjoyed by all! Calaveras en Mi Ciudad is a way to share the rich cultural and artistic traditions of Día de los Muertos in our community. Creating connections and conversations, the calaveras serve to inspire and pay tribute to the beauty of the Día de los Muertos celebration. One of the most recognizable symbols of the multi-day celebration are calaveras (skulls).

While the name translates to “Day of the Dead,” Día de los Muertos is considered a joyous holiday filled with the celebration of life rather than sorrowful mourning. The holiday’s deep cultural significance lies in time honored traditions.

Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and the Americas. Celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, the holiday involves family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends and family members who have departed this world and helping support their spiritual journey. In Mexican culture, death is viewed as a natural part of the human cycle, and it is recognized that the end of life does not have to be frightening. Día de los Muertos is not viewed as a day of sadness but as a day of celebration because loved ones awaken and are celebrated during these two days.

Traditions connected with the holiday include building home altars called ofrendas, where one honors the deceased using calaveras, or sugar skulls, which represent the vitality and individual personality of the departed. Sweet bread known as pan de muerto and marigolds (cempasúchil), add delicious smells and color to the altars. Favorite foods and beverages of the deceased are placed on the altars and grave sites as offerings and gifts.

Art plays a vital role in the celebration of Día de los Muertos. The folk art it inspires powerfully communicates the cultural traditions and basic meaning of this vibrant holiday. Each calavera that is part of Calaveras en mi Ciudad is a personal statement that is unique to its creator – each expressing a visual story of who they are, where they come from and how they place themselves within the ancestral tradition of Día de los Muertos.

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