Día de Muertos
Curated by Artspace and Unidad Latina en Acción
November 14—November 24, 2019
Since 2011, Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) has organized a larger-than-life puppet parade to celebrate Dia de Muertos, (the Day of the Dead). Rooted in Mexican cultural traditions and attitudes towards death, this magical festival welcomes the dead to return to life each year to enjoy the pleasures they once knew in life. Dia de Muertos is celebrated differently across the American continent by indigenous communities and their diasporas, finding expression in colorful public festivals and private family celebrations.
In New Haven, the puppets are created collectively with the help of many community members, whose DNA and memories reside in each object. This exhibition tells some of their stories through first-person narratives, including ULA Artists-in-Residence Pedro López, (2016-present) and Stefanie Loeb (2011-2014), ULA Volunteers Hector Hernandez (2012-present), Megan Fountain (2002-present) and Luis Miguel Diaz Calel (2015-present), and ULA Founder/Director John Lugo (2002-present). Infused with ULA’s commitment to fight for immigrants’ and workers’ rights, some of the puppets commemorate historical protests and revolutions, while others tell the stories of people who have been more recently disappeared or killed at the hands of state violence.
With love, and often humor, the voices of these puppets and their makers echo the power that resides in the acts of collective art making, storytelling and preservation. They are occasions for remembering the people who we love, the people who we have never met, and the people whose stories we will pass on. At large, the parade seeks to honor the journeys of people from the American continent who have been traveling for thousands of years. They are natives, and they belong here in the United States.
This two-week exhibition is the finale of our 22nd annual City-Wide Open Studios festival, which commissioned artists to mobilize collaborations across multiple generations. This show was made possible with generous support from the International Association of New Haven, Progreso Latino Fund, an anonymous donor, Friends of Artspace, ULA member/freedom fighter Rosario Caicedo and Rafael Ramos of Bregamos Community Theater.
SPECIAL HOURS: In addition to our usual Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm hours, Artspace will also be open on Sunday Nov 17 and Sunday Nov 24, 12-6pm.