30 October 2010

Dia de los Muertos

dog shrine vessel (2003)
bird shrine vessel (2003)
Ode to RRS (2003)
'3' recent day of the dead inspired work
I love this time of the year in Melbourne. Things are gearing up for Christmas, the weather can't decide if it will be hot or cold which I don't actually mind, there's plenty of things to see and do and it's time to celebrate The Day of the Dead. I've had a long standing interest in this Mexican celebration for many moons. Since I can remember I've been drawn to the visual vibrancy of Mexican folk art particularly Oaxacan ceramics. I love the mix of pagan and Catholic imagery and the tradition of erecting shrines to honour the deceased along with their favourite food and drink! When dad passed away in 2010 I took much comfort in the Day of the Dead celebrations and it's reference to playful morbidity. When I was doing my Masters I based my work around the concept of shrines, altars and sacred spaces. There's a great quote that I came across referring to the tackiness of Halloween and how it threatens the survival of Mexican folk art and handmade fantasies that so artfully transform grief into laughter. Oh how I wish the western world dealt with death more like the Mexican culture.

I dug up some of my old ceramic work to share with you. Keep in mind that these 'shrine vessels' were over a metre tall and weighed a tonne. 8 years down the track the kids kindly bulldozed the work and smashed them into a million pieces. Lucky the work didn't crush them. Here's to you dad and to all our dear family members and friends no longer with us. x o x

*UPDATE* I serendipitously came across a wonderful feature in The Age, Travellers guide today about The Day of the Dead, definitely worth the read.

p.s I complied some Etsy Day of the Dead and lovely skull finds. Check it out here!

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