Dia de los Muertos lineup announced

DOWNEY – Mexican filmmaker and historian Ramon Villalba will lead a Q&A discussion at this year’s Dia de los Muertos Art Festival scheduled for Nov. 2 at the Downey Theatre. Now in its second year, the festival celebrates the traditional Mexican holiday that pays tribute to dead family members and friends.

Born in Sinaloa, Mexico, Villalba moved to Southern California in 1979 and is a former member of the programming committee and advisor for LACLA (Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles). He lectures and consults on the history of Mexican film.

Villaba’s discussion will come after a screening of “Macario,” the quintessential Day of the Dead morality tale, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, in 1960.

This year’s festival also will feature demonstrations by artists Martin Sanchez, Aurora Chavez and Helen Nieto.

Sanchez was born in Michoacan and has been exhibited at the Riverside Art Museum. His 22-ft. tall sculpture, “The Bicycle,” will be showcased at the festival’s entrance.

Like all of Sanchez’s work, this catrino on a bicycle is made of 100 percent “repurposed” materials.

Chavez studied with Margret Sosa who studied under Olga Ponce Furginson, generally recognized as the best papel picado artist of her generation.

Papel picado involves cutting layered colored tissue paper, and then stringing them together to create decorative garlands.

Chavez will be supplying paper, chisels, scissors and knives for festival guests to create and take home a work of papel picado art. Her work also will be on exhibit.

Calaveras de azucar – literally “skulls of sugar” – is one of the most recognizable icons of dia de los muertos. Master decorator Helen Nieto was part of the team at L.A.-based Reign Trading Company, the studio that sparked a local revival of the popular, traditional art form.

Nieto leads interactive, hands-on demonstrations and provides small sugar skulls and decorations of tinsel and other embellishments for patrons to create and take home.

The Downey Theatre’s upstairs gallery will display the work of approximately 25 artists, all displaying dia de los muerto’s themed art. The pieces range from oils and acrylics to collage and multimedia.

Pat Gil, along with other volunteers from the Downey Arts Coalition, will curate and select the local artists.

The exhibit will be on display for the month of November.



Published: July 10, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 13