Community Focus: Dia de los Muertos Exhibit

Oklahoma Contemporary

You've seen the festivals and sugar skulls. In addition to Halloween, we are nearing day of the dead, the celebration of life and death started in Mexico, and is celebrated in many Latin American countries, the United States, and has indigenous roots.

The art exhibit and lively celebration started this weekend and goes through early November. It is called Celebration of Latino Culture, and is a partnership between the Oklahoma Latino Cultural Center and Oklahoma Contemporary. Artists from the region are showcasing their work.

“Being third generation Mexican American, myself, I always find it important to go through, and share my heritage,” says Chris Ortiz, artist.

Ortiz has portraits on display. It's art and, he hopes, a learning opportunity.

“I want to go through and show that not all Latinos look exactly the same, “says Ortiz.

The display is at Oklahoma Contemporary, and organizers say they hope people come to celebrate regional artists, and cultural differences.

“Doing something like this where we get to in our own voice getting to celebrate who we are and tell our story, and invite so many people from different cultures to come celebrate with us is an awesome thing,” says Narciso Arguelles, Oklahoma Latino Cultural Center Director.

The Oklahoma Contemporary says it has always been their goal to be a place for everyone.

“It is really important to reach out to our community in Oklahoma, all aspects of our community, and be as inclusive as possible,” says Jennifer Scanlan, Oklahoma Contemporary Curatorial and Exhibitions Director.

Support for the arts another major theme. Artist Gabby Diaz works on wood prints, and it was art mentors that encouraged her to create., and it might become a family affair.

“I actually brought my niece here today because she has kind of grown up far away from our roots, and I felt like this is the perfect opportunity -- because she has seen me do my art work, to see that side. She was really entranced with the showcasing that was done today, especially the mariachi, and the alter that they have. She was asking so many questions. I was so proud of her, “ says Diaz.

The exhibit explores Latinx identity and the history of Dia de los Muertos. Celebration of Latino Culture runs through November second.

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