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Jacobo Lovo is an artist, educator and the managing artistic director at Latino Arts, Inc. He writes about how the annual Día de los Muertos he helps produce empowers and educates the community.
As Día de los Muertos grows in popularity I feel fortunate that through Latino Arts, Inc. we are able to help share this wonderful cultural celebration that is deeply rooted in tradition, history and serves as powerful reflection of the complexity and depth of our collective Hispanic identity. Because of the surge in popularity of Día de los Muertos, it’s important to continue to educate the community on the cultural origins of the tradition. While we invite others to join in on the celebration, it’s crucial to reinforce that this celebration is much more than face-painting and colorful skull decorations.
It’s also important to acknowledge that most people’s understanding of Día de los Muertos is based on the colorful ofrendas, or altars, used to celebrate the tradition in states and parts of Mexico like Michoacán, Puebla and Oaxaca and will vary from place to place. In our annual Día de los Muertos Ofrenda Exhibit at Latino Arts, we have invited community members, schools, artists and the Mexican Consulate in Milwaukee to share ofrendas to help us celebrate the tradition and also help us continue to educate the community.
We are honored to count on the participation of so many that helps us illustrate how this wonderful celebration continues to grow, and, in some respects, evolve. Día de los Muertos has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, as a part world cultural heritage, an honor normally reserved for geographical locations.
We invite the community to visit the exhibit Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ($1 donation is suggested when visiting the gallery). This year’s opening reception will be on Friday, Nov. 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. followed at 7 p.m. by our annual Día de los Muertos concert. This year, we are thrilled to have Jarabe Mexicano joining us again with their concert, “Amor Eterno: Un Homenaje a Juan Gabriel.”
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Dia de Los Muertos has become part of mainstream pop culture, but what are its true cultural origins? What does it mean to those celebrating it today? From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, a Lunch and Learn session will focus on Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, exploring its precolonial origins, its evolution after the conquest, and how it has been adapted in Hispanic culture and beyond.
Moderator: Jacobo Lovo, Managing Artistic Director
- Laura Matthews: teaches Latin American, Mexican, and Central American history at Marquette University
- Jose Chavez: self-taught Mexican artist well known for his life size skeleton figures that exemplify the humorous side of Day of the Dead.
- Karina Belen Blas Rodríguez: deputy consul of the Consulate of Mexico in Milwaukee
Tickets for all the Día de los Muertos concert and Lunch and Learn can be purchased here.