Peabody Essex Museum

Salem, MA


Days of the Dead II

October 8, 1998 - January 3, 1999


Days of the Dead II, a special exhibition celebrating the art of the Mexican Dias de Los Muertos (Days of the Dead), returns to the Peabody Essex Museum on October 8th.

"The art made for Dias de Los Muertos shows death as a key part of life," says exhibition curator William Sargent. "The humor that runs through these works reminds us that if we are not careful, our earthly efforts will seem ridiculous." Days of the Dead II features colorful ofrendas (altars) created to remember dead relatives and friends, as well as flowers, brightly painted skulls, and papier-mache skeletons of all sizes portrayed in "death" as they were in life. The exhibition also features local artist Ali (Alison Cann-Clift) whose paintings and monotypes use the Days of the Dead as inspiration.

Days of the Dead II opens Thursday, October 8, 1998, and runs through January 3, 1999. Families are invited to a free Days of the Dead Family Fest on Sunday, October 11.

The celebration of Days of the Dead occurs in Mexico every year from October 31 to November 2. This Mexican holiday combines pre-Columbian traditions and Christian beliefs introduced by the Spanish. While the American Halloween turns death into something to be feared and avoided, Dias de Los Muertos, embraces death by highlighting death's place in everyday life. During this period, spirits of the dead return to visit friends and enjoy the pleasures of living. Families of dead loved ones invite the spirits of the dead to eat favorite foods set out on decorated ofrendas, home altars.

The Peabody Essex is an international museum of art and culture. Located at the corner of Liberty and Essex streets in downtown Salem, Massachusetts, the museum's collections comprise art objects brought together from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific. Internet address: E-mail address: Museum programs are funded in part by a generous grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. For more information, call (800) 745-4054, x3040 or 3011.

From top to bottom: Installation, Peter Vanderwarker; Installation, Peter Vanderwarker; Ali, Juguete II (Toy II), 1992, monotype, 20 x 16 3/4 inches; Ali, Ofrenda XI, 1992, monotype, 20 x 16 3/4 inches. Ali monotypes are courtesy of Pucker Gallery, Boston


rev. 11/26/10

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