03 November 2007

Celebrating Dia de los Muertos

It occured to me as I was preparing the photos for this post that there doesn't seem to be much art making going on for me to report about. In fact, I got an email asking where it had gone. No worries, dear reader, it will return soon. But my studio is still being finished up (it was torn apart successfully but is holding a bit of a grudge at the moment and taking longer to put back together then I expected). That combined with the facts that I've been busy with several projects that are finally done and there is just too much fun stuff going on right now that I want to go see has me spending very little time in the studio.

So today's post is not much different in that regard. Leann, Julia and I went downtown Detroit today to Mexicantown for their Dia de los Muertos celebration. If you aren't familiar with this holiday, it is the Mexican tradition of celebrating the lives of loved ones that have passed on. Its a very upbeat holiday and full of artistry that is totally unique and gorgeous. As a result, this post has tons of pictures in it so be sure to let them all load, they are really worth the wait!

Our first stop was to the Mexicantown International Welcome Center and Mercado. This is a relatively new center and I was really impressed with it. They had several offerendas and merchants there.

An offerenda is an altar with a photo of the deceased person and things that they loved as well as food offering. The photo above is of a more elaborate one set up in the Welcome Center.

We also had the extreme pleasure of meeting Hector Tapia Perez. He's a retired art school teacher turned full time artist and the recipient of the 2007 Hispanic Leadership Award from the Michigan Senate. He was really fun to talk to, he had a lot to share. The photo below is of him posed next to one of his gorgeous linocuts.

We had a really nice time at the Welcome Center and then decided to walk around the Mexicantown neighborhood. One of the first things we came across was a small gallery. Unfortunately it wasn't open but I was really digging this metal snake sculpture attached to the outside. (I'm short, hence the angle of the photo. What can I say? You get short people taking pictures, you get photos at weird angles.)

A little farther up the block was this mural painted on the side of a building.

Leann, Julia and I couldn't resist a Where I Stand photo in front of the mural. (Well, to be honest, it was more me whining at them to do it. They thought I was a little weird but they did it and hey, aren't you glad? Julia's foot is on the right and if I hadn't badgered her into doing it, you would have never seen her cool shoe.) We balanced against each other and held up our feet, we didn't want to put our feet on the mural so we just hovered in front of it. Its amazing just how bad my balance is, thank goodness Leann is a steady one!

We went on from there to eat burritos and drink margaritas (my only regret is that I got the small one and yes, Leann, I know it was early afternoon and no, Leann, that doesn't make me a lush). We visited a tortilla factory where we got tortillas that were still warm they were so fresh. A package of 10 fresh flour tortilla for a grand total of 69 cents! They will be used tomorrow night for the enchilada dinner I'm making.

We also shopped at the supermarkets and small gift shops. I bought some fresh made guacamole and chips and some seasoning for the aforementioned enchilada dinner. And of course my skull addiction flared up and I picked up these new friends:

It was a really lovely day. The weather was sweater weather, Mexicantown was busy and it was a really nice way to remember loved ones that are no longer with us.

Tomorrow I start baking holiday cookies and am going to attempt to put the studio back together. Its been long enough now that I've not worked on any projects that I'm beginning to get that twitch. So keep a look out for art related posts soon, won't be long now....

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