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Dia de Muertos Community Altar Building

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Coinciding with the Day of the Dead holiday across Latin America, the public will be invited to build an altar with the artist the evening of October 30th at Rhizome from 6-9pm. The altar will be a homage to cultural influences and in honor of ancestors that have passed on. It will be prepared by anyone that wishes to participate as a way to collectively dig into their roots and present a space that gives a unique view of death through life by bringing items from their own culture/life to decorate the altar with. You do not have to bring items to participate, as it is about the community building together.

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Laura Irene is a Mexican American artist, curator, writer and art critic. As an artist, Laura strives to reach not only those that appreciate an encapsulating texture, but especially to those that never thought to accept beauty in such a simple manner. Laura works in beeswax, dirt, paper and wood. Her goal is to bring together the natural elements as a form of art that evokes a change of mind and challenges the space in which it exists. As a curator, Laura works to challenge institutions to review how they interact with marginalized communities and artists of color. She creates a space for artists and herself to be seen and heard in a thoughtful and contemplative environment. As a writer, Laura challenges others to think about the space that they take up. She gives a voice to those that are marginalized and challenges society to think differently about their responsibility as human beings. As an art critic, Laura writes about artists of color underrepresented in the media in the hopes that her voice will create a more authentic and truer version of their truth.

Curator's Statement:

Day of the Dead signifies a time in which communities come together to remember their loved ones – the ways in which that is done varies across traditional lines. To an uneducated public, it has become synonymous with Mexico seen only as candied skulls and skeleton painted faces that is often confused with an offensive Halloween costume. Not only is it experienced differently across Mexico but it is also celebrated throughout Latin America dating back to pre-colonization. This exhibit aims to reclaim this holiday that has been gentrified, repackaged as décor, and sold in party stores across the USA. Our culture, identity and experiences are not for sale. This exhibit encourages the Rhizome community to discern, contemplate, mourn, and remember in order to process, heal and contribute at ones comfort level.

The walls will be transformed into a space for writing the names of those who have passed away as a way to remember our loved ones and the names of those that society aims to have forgotten. Portions of the wall will be dedicated to those who have been murdered by police in 2019, to include those whose deaths continue to empower marginalized communities in North America. In addition the names of Ayotzinapa 43 students that went missing in Mexico in 2014 all presumed murdered by authorities. This continues to not only be a horrific act but also highlights the USA's silence in the media. The physical writing down of names is a powerful exercise in itself... In addition to the wall of names, the public can record their own thoughts and in turn listen to those who have left their words for others. There will also be a hanging installation of "skin" by Laura Irene for the public to reflect in for as long or as little as needed.

In addition and coinciding with the Day of the Dead holiday across Latin America, the public will be invited to build an altar with the artist the evening of October 30th. This altar will be a homage to cultural influences and in honor of ancestors that have passed on. It will be prepared by anyone that wishes to participate as a way to collectively dig into their roots and present a space that gives a unique view of death through life by bringing items from their own culture/life to decorate the altar with. You do not have to bring items to participate, as it is about the community building together. On that following Sunday, November 3rd, the public is invited back to Rhizome at 8pm for a candlelight ceremony around the altar. All are welcome join in this communal experience and are encouraged to participate based on level of comfort. Visitors are invited to bring a photo of a loved one who have passed away to share with the community on that night.

Earlier Event: October 29
Concert: Wolf Eyes / Emily Gen
Later Event: October 31
Halloween Blowout! w/ B|_ank / Sir E.U.