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Series of events celebrates Dia de los Muertos

| Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Crossroads Gallery for Contemporary Art and Partners is hosting a series of events in celebration of Día de los Muertos at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture (NDCAC) and the Snite Museum of Art.

The exhibition “Remembering the Undocumented Across the Rio Grande” and a Día de los Muertos event took place Thursday at the NDCAC, according to art coordinator of the Crossroads Gallery, Alex Schaufele. The events included an opening reception and altar dedication, with musical performances by Mariachi ND and Ballet Folklorico Azul y Oro.

“[Día de los Muertos] is a time to remember those we have lost and perhaps those we do not know,” Schaufele said. “It is a communal celebration of life.”

In continuation of the celebration,  a talk with featured artist Sandra Fernandez is scheduled today at 4 p.m. at the Snite Museum, Schaufele said. A reading of “Ofrenda of Voices: Celebrating the Dead” is scheduled to take place Saturday through Notre Dame’s creative writing program.

“I will talk about my trajectory as an artist,” Fernandez said. “Where I started and where I am now. My experiences. Who I am as an artist and what my interests are.”

Schaufele said the gallery chose to host Fernandez as the featured guest artist based on suggestions supplied by planning committee members hoping to showcase a unique approach to Día de los Muertos.

“Last year was an Africana approach dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. by [artist] Diógenes Ballester,” she said. “This year, we are featuring Sandra, an Ecuadorian artist who works with undocumented individuals.”

Fernandez said the exhibition and ofrenda are dedicated to those who have died while crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S., particularly along the Rio Grande.

“I have been working with undocumented peoples and wanted to bring attention to those who have died crossing the border,” she said. “Many of them are never identified, and I wanted to honor them.”

The dedication was a way to pray for the souls of the dead, who passed away far from friends, families and their homes, Fernandez said.

“I’m bringing a different awareness and information about a population to the area,” she said. “I want to celebrate and pay homage to that population.”

As part of this year’s celebration, Schaufele said those involved offer both a traditional altar for everyone to participate in and a nontraditional one as a part of the exhibition, which includes an interactive component.

“All four events were generated based on Día de los Muertos and those who Sandra chose to honor in her exhibition,” she said.

Although this event took place at the Snite Museum in previous years, Schaufele said the NDCAC began hosting it last year.

“[We are hosting the] exhibition in the Crossroads Gallery for Contemporary Art as way to bring the community and Notre Dame students together,” she said.

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About Carolyn Hutyra

Carolyn Hutyra serves as an Assistant News Editor for The Observer. She is a senior from Arlington Heights, Illinois studying Biology and Anthropology.

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