Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

So, every year, the Lawndale Gallery in Houston does a fundraising event for Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). They provide tins for artists to paint on, draw on, etch, cut into, etc... The pieces are to be informed by the practice of painting retablos, or ex-voto. It is a devotional art and is traditionally done in a folk style. But that's not to say that an artist can't know of the tradition of the retablo and then veer far away from its roots (and still come up with something amazing).

Dia de los Muertos was a part of my childhood growing up in Houston, Texas. My mother further informed me about it when she did a few projects associated with the holiday while she was working towards her teaching degree. I love the mystery and the personal stories of retablos. I can't wait to see them in whatever fashion I can.

The gallery has already started putting up pieces for this year, but the rest won't be posted until later. If you want, you can check out  to see the ones from 2009 and 2010. There are some really inventive and creative pieces in the mix.

The Lawndale gives out the tins for free, and when returned, the completed pieces go on auction. Part or all of the proceeds of the sale then go to help run the gallery (depending on what the artist wants). I'm all for keeping the Lawndale up and running. And I am so excited to be a part of this tradition. Normally it is only locals who can get their hands on the tins before they run out, but this year I got permission from the gallery to have my mom pick up a tin for herself as well as one for me. She mailed me a blank tin, I took it in, thought over it, and painted a little something, and then mailed the finished piece back to my mom, who then took in her piece and mine to the gallery. So exciting! The only thing that could make it better would be to have even more loved ones involved.

I've met a few of the artists that will be contributing work this year, but I am most excited about having a piece at Lawndale along with my mother and her (and my) dear friend Louise. These are two women that I've looked up to for ages, and it is just such a happy thought to be in a show with them.

Here is a photo of the three of us taken at The Big Show at Lawndale back in 2008:

Photos of our retablos and more stories of our paintings to follow...

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