Mexican-American Artist Analee Fuentes Celebrates Day of the Dead at Maude Kerns Art Center
Welcome to Viz City, KLCC’s Arts Review program. It’s the 25th anniversary of the Day of the Dead Show at Maude Kerns Art Center. Local Mexican-American artist Analee Fuentes has deep roots in this tradition.
"Day of the Dead is something that was celebrated as [sort of] a harvest ritual, and also a celebration of this cycle of life and death in Mexico, although it is celebrated in other Latin American countries."
Day of the Dead is a day to welcome and remember the spirits of those who have died in a way that is very different from the scarier Halloween. This is based in a belief that no one is ever really dead but just in a different state.
"Although my grandmother once told me that no one is ever really dead until you no longer mention their name."
The show at Maude Kerns showcases many “ofrendas,” which are altars or offerings in the name of an individual who has passed.
"An offering --it means literally offering--to your dead loved one, where you put food, their favorite food, photographs, usually you’re supposed to add something from the four elements--something that signifies fire, water, so there’s usually a glass of water, and fire, there’s a candle, and the wind is signified by the papel picado or paper that blows, and the earth is typically represented by a root vegetable like a jicama or a potato--that’s kind of a very traditional ofrenda."
You’ll see many elaborate ofrendas as well as Mexican and local folk art at the colorful Maude Kerns exhibit. Look especially for the one dedicated to Susan Dearborn Jackson, a Eugene folklorist largely responsible for starting this event, showing through November 2.
Viz City is co-produced by Terry Way and Sandy Brown Jensen.