We are in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month and today artist Mario Mendez called joined Live In The D to talk about the DIA’s new exhibit, “Ofrendas: Celebrating el Día de Muertos 2020”.
An ofrenda is an alter covered in items relating to a person who has passed away, and serve as a way to honor them. Ofrendas have a long history in Mexico as well as other Latin American countries, with origins dating back over 3,000 years. Over time, they’ve developed influences from Aztec, Mayan, and Spanish cultures, and now even modern items are added to ofrendas.
The exhibit is open until Nov 8., and visitors can visit in person, or through a 360 virtual exhibit at the DIA’s website. Mendez encouraged residents of Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties to visit and take advantage of their free admittance. If you decide to go in person, you’ll have to reserve your ticket online in advance. Time slots are being issued for visitors to prevent crowds building up and to promote social distancing.
Mendez created an ofrenda for the exhibit dedicated to workers, especially in developing countries, who have died. He said he wanted to honor those who didn’t have the option to stay home during the pandemic, either because conditions at home weren’t safe, or because they couldn’t afford to stop working.
Mendez also showed off some hand made alebrijes. Alebrijes are fantasy creatures made of paper mache and covered in colorful, detailed paintings. They are often left on ofrendas, and can be seen as spiritual guides, or simply a crazy dream come to life.