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Day of the Dead at Fábrica La Aurora

By Edward Swift, photos by Rae Miller, Edina Sagert, Gerardo Ruiz

The annual Day of the Dead party at Fábrica La Aurora will feature special exhibitions and music by several local groups. There will be large altars in public spaces commemorating the lives of Carlos Fuentes and Nezahualcóyotl. Many of the galleries will feature altars in remembrance of friends or celebrated public figures. The charity of the evening is the Red Cross.

Day of the Dead at Fábrica La Aurora
Art, Altars, Music and more
Sat, Nov 3, 6-9pm
Fábrica La Aurora

The origins of the Day of the Dead can be traced back more than 3,000 years to civilizations that existed long before the arrival of the Aztecs. The Aztecs, known to have adopted the religious and philosophical ideas of their predecessors, dedicated the festival to the Queen of the Underworld, the goddess Mictecacihuatl (Meek-teka-see-wahdl) whose major duty was to guard the bones of the dead. Although the ancient festival has merged with Spanish cultural traditions, such as All Souls Day, it is believed that Mictecacihuatl still presides over the contemporary festivities. In ancient hieroglyphs she appears as a skeleton with a wide-open mouth ready swallow the stars. Her spirit will certainly be felt in all the galleries.

Galería-Estudio Rolando García is showing the work of Swedish photographer Lars Svanström who lives in San Miguel. The photos, taken in several states including Chiapas, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Michoacán, and Oaxaca, depict the strong and multifaceted Mexican environments, people, and cultures.

James Harvey is featuring ink drawings on organdy. Each drawing utilizes several layers of this sheer “see-through” fabric, and the result is a shimmering three-dimensional effect. His new boxes are enough to make Joseph Cornell turn over in his grave.

Galería Smallworks, located in the center courtyard, is now carrying BLOMUS, a line of contemporary home accessories from Germany.

Galería OMO is pleased to announce the opening of its New York Branch, located at 18 East 62nd Street and run by Karen Dorea. By appointment only: 212-593-2581.

Galería 910 features a life-size calaca (skeleton), wearing a wig, and holding a camera as if to record the occasion. The calaca, constructed of plastic and wood, was made by an uncle of Pilar Aridjis, manager of the gallery.

Pineda Covalin is offering a special promotion only for San Miguel November 3, 6-9pm. With a minimum purchase of 2,000 pesos the buyer will receive a special gift. Since everything in Pineda Covalin is special, this is something to take advantage of.

Merry Calderoni will have a new exhibit called “Sketchbook to Canvas” featuring her semi-abstract interpretations of nudes from life-drawing classes. Some are painted with layers of brilliant color and broken lines, allowing the viewer to draw the nude figure for himself. In her usual larger format, Calderoni returns to the sepia and black tones of the Soldadera series with large, loosely executed and distorted line work. It is something very fresh and different for Calderoni, so stop by and see the nudes in Gallery 10-A.

Rae Miller, who works in encaustic and also teaches this technique of painting with wax, will be showing new work on paper. The work is buoyant and beautiful and reflects the spirit of the creator. Don’t miss her new exhibition at the Rae Miller Gallery in Section C across the hall from Buenas Noches where Donna Mattson’s altar to Elizabeth Taylor will be on display.

Zoho Galería welcomes a new artist. He is the painter Nicias Aridjis, who is also the owner of Galería 910, located in the central courtyard. The artists of Zoho will create a traditional altar to the members of their families, with favorite food, drink, salt, flowers and candies.

Galería Alebrije presents an altar in honor of Pedro Linares López, the creator of alebrijes. The alebrije is a newly recognized Mexican craft made of different types of paper and painted with bright colors. Sometimes alebrijes represent an imaginary animal, or physiological elements of different animals. In addition to the altar, Mario Oliva has organized a collective exhibition of artists from all over Mexico. De Muertos y Alebrijes will be the first time the gallery has presented an exhibition dedicated to alebrijes.

Sualglass Gallery is exhibiting paintings by Jaime Adán, a Mexican citizen born in Spain. He is a cartoonist, a self-taught painter, and a traveler who developed his craft while wandering around the world. His work clearly conveys the Mexican spirit, the joys, sorrows, and the sense of place.

The Sagert Gallery presents watercolorist, ceramicist, and teacher of watercolor techniques; Edina Sagert’s huge portraits of the famous and not so famous are dark and brooding, slightly nightmarish. Mictecacihuatl will no doubt find them highly appropriate. The gallery is also showing the ever-popular ceramics of Blanca García and Elaine Grenier.

The Florencia Riestra Gallery will introduce four young printmakers who have been studying in the workshop of master printmaker Artemio Rodríguez from San Miguel Tamácuaro, Michoacán. The eldest of the four young men came to the house of  maestro Rodríguez to ask for art lessons. Soon three more students followed, and now they’re showing their prints for the first time: Arriaga Jesús Silva (15), Juan Arriaga Silva (12), Cesár Rodríguez Avilés (15), and Gildardo Arreola (13). They will all be present at the party, so please come congratulate them.

Sortilegio will exhibit the latest work of Gerardo Ruiz Maldonaldo. Gerardo is an artist and teacher and his recent work, of many different techniques, includes landscapes, animals, and nudes.

Kelley Vandiver, who has the smallest gallery in the Fábrica, will create an altar in honor of Frida Kahlo. He will show flowers, birds and beads, portraits of saints, sinners, and animals elevated to the level of the divine.

Just outside the Vandiver gallery Edward Swift will be exhibiting Cantos Floridos, Los Poemas de Nezahualcóyotl.

There are many more galleries in the Fábrica, but as of this writing the others are keeping their exhibition plans secret. The Day of the Dead party at Fábrica La Aurora has become a tradition and a public favorite, full of surprises. Although there is ample parking, there’s never enough. Car-pooling is advised along with taxis and walking. Remember there are two entrances, one in the center of the building and another on the right near the duck pond. Do not let the large crowd keep you at home; with the opening of new public spaces there should be plenty of elbowroom. Mictecacihuatl requests your presence. Please do not disappoint her.

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