Latinx traditions date back thousands of years. From the southernmost part of Chile to Northern Mexico alike, Latinx communities honor and venerate traditions passed down by our indigenous ancestors whose cultural heritage is still alive today.
Day of the Dead, a Mexica/Mexican tradition, traces its roots back to Mesoamerica; whereby the Nahua people (later Aztec) created a Tzompantli (skull rack) to honor Mictlantecuhtli (god of death). While similar death rituals are found around the world, in Aztec tradition unlike any other, great athletes and men of noble standing would volunteer through a series of competitive ballgames to partake in the Tzompantli. The winners rejoiced in bringing great honor into their household and ensured their passage to a higher level in Mictlan (underground), a willing sacrifice.
Today people all around the world celebrate Day of the Dead, by making altars (Contemporary Tzompantlis) that open a safe passage for their departed ones to come back and partake in earthly festivities made in their honor. For one night a year, Mictlantecuhtli opens the doors of Mictlan and allows our loved ones to celebrate their lives with us once more. The creation of altars serves to venerates those in Mictlan. Candles, flowers, candy, food, and colorful traditional Mexican motives guide our ancestors home so they will have everything they need to celebrate one night with their loved ones in this realm... until the next time our paths cross.
Curated by Erika Hirugami, MAAB • Founder & CEO of CuratorLove
ALtars by the following artists
IN partnership with
Founded in 1970 in the heart of East Los Angeles, Self Help Graphics & Art is dedicated to the production, interpretation, and distribution of prints and other media by Chicana/o and Latina/o artists. Our multi-disciplinary, inter-generational programs promote artistic excellence and empower our community by providing access to space, tools, training and capital.
El Nopal Press is distinguished by its focus on the work of artists who explore border issues, and the complex cultural relationships between Mexico/US. Founded in Los Angeles in 1990, El Nopal Press produced prints by artists, executed as lithographs, woodcuts, etchings and combinations of these processes, expressing considerations that range from the social and the ethical to issues of identity.