Every year the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago has a Day of the Dead exhibit (check out last year’s photos here). The only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums, it has the country’s largest Mexican art collection. So it’s fitting the museum also has one of the biggest displays of Día de los Muertos. There are numerous altars and related art by local and international artists. And that’s not it. There is also a sugar skull demonstration along with foot pedal loom weaving and wood carving. And it’s all FREE!!! Well, except if you want to take home a souvenir Day of the Dead ceramic figure, that will cost you.
In case you didn’t already know, Día de los Muertos is a day to celebrate the lives of deceased loved ones. It is believed that on this day, the souls of the dead travel back to earth. Leaving an altar with an offering for the souls ensures that they will find their way home. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of José Guadalupe Posada, one of Mexico’s most prolific printmakers, illustrators, and caricaturists. The museum’s annual Day of the Dead exhibit pays homage to him. Some of the altars and installations depict Posada’s famous characters like the Fancy Lady and the Dandy. Other altars are dedicated to the victims of Sandy Hook and Hurricane Sandy as well as the families of the Mexican Circus (which was my personal favourite, by the way).