Day of the Dead at HAHS

By Amanda Bateman, Exhibition Registrar

The long awaited return of the Day of the Dead exhibit to the Hayward Area Historical Society is here! It seems hard to believe, but it has been four years since we held our last Day of the Dead exhibit at the Meek Mansion in Cherryland. With the opening of our new building two and a half months ago, we finally have the space to install the exhibition here and hold different October related programs at Meek Mansion. The exhibition is in our Community Gallery where we will hold all sorts of community-curated exhibitions over the next year. For this year’s Day of the Dead exhibition, under the creative direction of the Guest Curator, Phillip Gallegos, thirty-eight individual artists and groups participated in bringing their representations of Day of the Dead to the exhibit.

The tradition of Day of the Dead influences a wide range of art. In the exhibit, altars featured range from traditional to contemporary representations of the holiday, but all carry personal themes for their creators. In addition to the altars, there are a variety of artistic representations of the holiday from photographs to paintings on canvas and leather skateboards to tattoo-style decorative plates. It’s fascinating to see the traditional altars mixed with contemporary art and how the holiday is becoming more and more mainstream.

Phillip has done a great job guiding the exhibit to simultaneously highlight a deeply meaningful holiday, while also showcasing the amazing talent within our community. All of the pieces turned out so incredible, such as the tapete made of sand and dried paint. Tapetes are sand art pieces traditionally made in the Valley of Oaxaca. The exhibit is open until November 9 and it would be a pleasure to see you here viewing the result of everyone’s hard work.

The 2014 Day of the Dead exhibit is sponsored by Macy’s, Pancho Villa Event Center, Chabot College, the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, YCS & Associates, Hayward Councilmember Francisco Zermeño and Hayward Councilmember Elisa Marquez.