Diego Rivera, El día de los muertos: La oferta/The work of the Dead: The Offering, 1923–24 Secretaría de Educacíon Pública, Mexico City

Candles. Crucifix. Flowers. Incense. Fruit. Calaveras. These and other elements comprise the ofrenda, or offering—an crucial component of work of the Dead celebrations. Initially a timeless family observance in Mexico, the work of the Dead is widely commemorated in the United states in both public and also private places.

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Honoring and welcoming the soul of the dead, the ofrenda, a ritual altar, is a personal expression of love for those who have died, a feast because that the spirits that visit. Both kids (November 1) and adults (November 2) are honored. The festivities and also rituals that El Día de los Muertos additionally reflect communal develops of honoring the dead, thus making the act of psychic a cumulative one.

Diego Rivera’s OfrendaIn the fresco panel above, the renowned painter and also muralist Diego Rivera offers both a conventional and suggestive ofrenda. As the art chronicler David Craven defined in his book Art and revolution in Latin America, 1910–1990:

The top register the his fresco has an unusual, Indo-Christian cross that is similar to the early sixteenth-century Cruz atrial (Atrial cross) at Acolman . . . . This photo attests to the persistence of aboriginal American traditions and also the imposition of hispanic institutions. Precisely due to the fact that this “dialogical” configuration remains a repository the repressed cultural forms, it has end up being a economic stimulation for modern-day Latin American artists seeking to reconstruct their local identities, hence synthesizing new visual develops with fragments from a splintered past.

Yreina Cervántez’ Ofrenda

Yreina D. Cervántez’ 1989 mural La Ofrenda, painted under a leg in downtown Los Angeles, embraces this principle of honor and also identity. In it, Cervántez—an artist and Chicana activist—pays homage to Dolores Huerta, co-founder with César Chávez that the united Farm employees of America.


Yreina D. Cervántez, La Ofrenda, 1989. Courtesy Social and Public Art source Center (SPARC).

The Social and Public Art resource Center (SPARC), a collaboration between communities and also artists, observed:

The offerings come in kind of candles, calla lilies, a oh my god eye, and images that the employees for whose civil liberties dealt with for. Top top the ideal side that the piece, open hands display screen a poem by Gloria Alvarez. The mural is one homage come the strength of Latina women. It brings fist to the hardships the war and also immigration, if highlighting the life and also hope that endures through these struggles.

In a current interview, Cervántez recalled the mural’s countless intents:

Everything in this mural is yes, really a type of a dedication, an ofrenda, an giving to the community. The speaks about spirit as well and Native American practices in terms of spirituality and also how us reclaim that together a type of decolonizing ourselves.

This mural was done in 1989 and also it was done to create a kind of bridge of solidarity between the Chicana/Chicano community and also the main American/Latin American neighborhood in regards to all of the immigration that to be happening due to the fact that of the battles in Latin America and main America.

It was also meant to be a homage come of food the battles of working people here and everywhere and also in specific the Farmworkers Union i beg your pardon is why Dolores Huerta is influential in the mural.

Also the was expected to be an homage come the fact that it is women countless times that room at the forefront of developing positive change.

Restored for the an initial time in 2012, La Ofrenda was continually vandalized over time. By 2015, the CityWide Mural Program’s (CWMP) had included it to its list for conservation v the support of the department of social Affairs. Instead, the mural was completely covered by one more mural. Finally, top top July 20, 2016, CWMP led a brand-new restoration effort.


Restoration that Yreina Cervántez’s La Ofrenda, Los Angeles, September 2016. California historic Society/LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes; photo: Oscar R. Castillo.

Murales Rebeldes / challenged Murals

The neglect, defacement, destruction, and censorship that murals the promote Hispanic/Latino identity and activism have been troubling and also ongoing cases in the Los Angeles neighborhoods for whom these artworks to be created and for the artist who produced them.

Remains that the east Los Streetscapers’ mural Filling up on old Energies (1981), and also the wall surface on which it to be painted, clutter 4th and Soto roads in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, on may 24, 1988. The mural was damaged without notifying the artists. Courtesy David Botello, Wayne Healy, and George Yepes; photo: David Botello.

In September 2017, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes and the California Historical culture will deal with the subject of challenged murals through the exhibition and related publication ¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals under Siege, part of the Getty Foundation’s region-wide Pacific typical Time: LA/LA, opening September 2017.

The project features murals by Barbara Carrasco, Yreina D. Cervántez, Roberto Chavez, Alma López, Ernesto de la Loza, eastern Los Streetscapers, Willie Herrón III, and also Sergio O’Cadiz Moctezuma; essays by reporter Gustavo Aurello.

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David Craven, Art and transformation in Latin America, 1910–1990 (New Haven: Yale college Press, 2002 and 2006).