by YONA C. RIEL

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dios de los Muertos

     Perhaps because I lived in San Francisco for so many years with it's enormous hispanic community my version of Halloween in much more akin to Dios de los Muertos; a celebration of those who have died.
     Every year on November 1st and 2nd all over Mexico people 'celebrate' the lives of their beloved dead ones.   Lovers, brothers, mothers and sisters not to mention 1st and 2nd cousins and anyone else deemed important.  Little skeletons of these special people are made, often doing what the person being honored used to do.  In my collection of 'skeletons' one is a camping scene.  Two skeletons with yellow hats are sitting under a full moon playing music as they lean up against a Joshua tree.  Laying at their feet, is a sleepy eyed dog, just waiting for the next adventure.  The most recent addition to my 'skeleton family' is a sexy woman in a red dress showing just a bit of leg.  I love the playful nature of Dios de los Muertos which is why I have been wanting to go to Mexico during the holiday for over a decade to celebrate.
     I am so happy to say this is the year.  Because (due to my own recent near death experience) I couldn't possibly go alone I am going with Michael deMeng (google him, he's fab)  and a group of a dozen or so others.   Michael is an awesome assemblage artist who I met several years ago at Artfest.  He was teaching a class on using old polaroids as mini canvases.  The end product was a 3 dimensional piece that you looked into as if it was a little world inside a 3" x 3" frame.   I would have dig around really deep in my old files to find the pictures.  So you will just have to trust me on this one when i say they were 'fricken awesome'.

  


    It's occurring to me as i write this that both of my most recent pieces have had a distinctly hispanic edge to them.  In my piece called 'the resurrection of Yo' she looks to me like she was born and raised in Oaxaca.  The piece I did at Art and Soul begins with a drawing of a skeleton's head with a blood red path that flows from the area where the doctors drilled into my head.  No wonder the minute I saw the drawing I knew I had to work with it.  (There's a small picture below... before I worked with it and another one after.  I am aware that many might see it as a tortured soul sort of piece.   Especially if you don't notice all the music that frames the collage.  But it was really done in the spirit of Dios de los Muertos; a tribute to my previous self and to the new person I hope to become.

      Nothing like a 'near death experience' to turn one's life around.  And I am so looking forward to this trip to Oaxaca, Mexico and all the transformations it promises to bring. Many, many pictures when I get back, I promise.

6 comments:

  1. I'm coming to expect these amazing entries from you. Another one. I love Day of the Dead pieces - have several (my favorite: beauty parlor scene). Yona - I look forward to the report & pics & work from Oaxca. I hope it is all you want & even more! Hugs.

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  2. thanks lloyda... such a great fan u r... it really helps to know that you are enjoying what i write...and i would love one day to see the beauty parlor scene.. sounds way too fun..yo

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  3. Boy, some of these models really are getting too skinny anymore-ha.

    I didn't know you were going to Mexico. My sister loves it there and goes at least one a year to San Miquel de Allente or something like that.

    I enjoyed the ride Sunday. It was a bit shorter than I had anticipated, but good nonetheless.

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  4. yes, i am soon to be in oaxaca for day of the dead.... i know i didn't mention on the bike ride.. too much other convos going on.. thanks for checking out my blog... i will get to yours soon.. yo

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  5. Hope you enjoy your trip to Mexico. Bring your experience back to PDX. Love your art work. john stevenson

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  6. thanks john... i will be posting alot of photos from oaxaca onto my flickr account soon... once i get settled enough to get it all done... perhaps i will start with an entry here and do a link to flickr... stayed tuned... and again ty for reading... yo

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