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Nicole Acosta is a photographer, artist and communication and marketing associate at Ex Fabula. She writes about the tradition’s important connection to her identity.
Día de los Muertos is a very sacred tradition for me.
Many years ago, I was searching for a way to re-connect with my cultural heritage as a first generation Mexican American. My family never celebrated this day because they were from a part of Mexico that never really celebrated it.
But as I grew older and began having my own children, I felt it was critical to form our own traditions, especially because I was a single mother and my children looked to me as their main family. I began to think about what I wanted to hand down to them so that’s when I began to start my own research and then eventually sought mentorship from Zulay Oszkay, who was the managing artistic director at Latino Arts Inc. at the time.
That’s really where my love for this celebration blossomed. I not only installed my own ofrendas (altar for a passed loved one) but also led all of the gallery tours and workshops for visiting groups and schools.
Over the years, I have honored many loved ones and also made political statements through my altars.
For me, the days that we honor the dead is a ritual that keeps me directly connected to my indigenous roots and land and is also critical to the act of self-preservation and political resistance.
I have spent the last three years shifting from my work at Latino Arts Inc, to helping create and organize Escuela Verde’s beautiful celebration, to this year, when I have the privilege working with Jesus Gonzalez at Zocaló and Mariyam Nayeri at Botanica Galactica.
This collaborative celebration starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2 is taking place at the gallery space located inside Botanica Galactica.
Event- goers will be able to see local community members’ altar installations and purchase unique Día de Los Muertos-inspired goods from local vendors. Community can also enjoy Zocaló food truck park, where live music and performances will take place, drinks will be served and the food trucks will be open for business; there will also be a community altar, for folks to contribute to for the night!
People can still get involved by installing their own altar at Botanica Galactica by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, spreading the word or just attending!