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La Matadora,” by David Lozeau. Courtesy of the artist.

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. Sept. 1, 2016 – A journey through life, love and death, “Day of the Dead: Art of Día de los Muertos 2016” will open at the California Museum’s Day of the Dead Party on Fri., Oct. 14, 2016. Exploring the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring deceased loved ones that evolved from the Aztecs to modern day California, the exhibit features altar installations paying tribute to Marlene Dietrich, Walt Disney, Lalo Guerrero, Evel Knievel and Joaquin Murrieta created by five California artists.

“Day of the Dead highlights things we all have in common: life and death, joy and sorrow,” said Museum Executive Director Amanda Meeker. “It’s perhaps for this reason that this tradition with roots in Aztec times still resonates today, and that this Mexican custom draws participants from all backgrounds. The California Museum is proud to play a part in this cultural tradition by creating a space where people of all ages can learn about its history and modern significance.”

A festive and social occasion, “Dìa de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) is the Mexican cultural tradition honoring deceased loved ones on Nov. 1 and 2 each year by creating “calaveras de azúcar” (sugar skulls), “altares de Muertos” (altars of the dead) and “ofrendas” (offerings) to welcome the dead and recognize the cycles of life and death. Developed from ancient traditions of the Aztecs, the annual ritual has evolved over the last 3,000 years to become a part of modern day California’s culture, where celebrations take place annually in cities such as San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Melissa Jazulin. Courtesy of the artist.

Representing a range of creativity across the state, the exhibit includes original works by Francisco Franco of San Francisco, John S. Huerta of Sacramento, Melissa Jazulin of Stockton,  David Lozeau of San Diego and Rob-O of Sacramento. Altars by Huerta and Rob-O pay tribute to arts and entertainment legends Marlene Dietrich and Walt Disney, while installations by Franco, Lozeau and Jazulin commemorate father of Chicano music Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero, stunt performer Evel Knievel and Gold Rush-era folk hero Joaquin Murrieta.

“As a Chicano artist, Lalo Guerrero has been an inspiration to me for years,” said Francisco Franco. “Guerrero was the first artist to merge Spanish lyrics to popular genres of American music like swing and R&B starting in the 1940s. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to celebrate his legacy as a bilingual voice for Mexican Americans who crossed over into mainstream American popular culture.”

“I’m honored to be included in the exhibit and to celebrate the life of Evel Knievel,” said David Lozeau. “Watching television in the 1970s, I became a fan of Knievel and his death-defying stunts, which eventually served as an inspiration to me as an adult to be daring and to take chances in life.”

In addition to the artists’ original art and altar installations, members of the public are invited to commemorate a deceased loved one by leaving a remembrance in the exhibit’s Community Altar located in the Museum’s lobby through Sat., Dec. 31, 2016. For more information and a list of related programs, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/dia-de-los-muertos-2016.

RELATED PROGRAMMING:

Day of the Dead Party 2016
Fri., Oct. 14, 2016 • 6:00-10:00 p.m.

Members of the public are invited to attend the Museum’s Day of the Dead Party on Fri., Oct. 14, 2016 from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. Highlights include the opening of “Day of the Dead: Art of Día de los Muertos 2016,” appearances by exhibit artists; performance & ceremonial blessing by Danza Azteca Maquilli Tonatiuh; food and beverages by Mayahuel Restaurant & Tequila Museum; sugar skull decorating workshop with I Love Sugar Skulls; costume contest with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes; free face painting for all attendees and more. Advance tickets $5.00 each, day-of door admission $20.00 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/dotd-party-2016.

Sugar Skull Workshop Series
Sat., Oct. 29 & 30, 2016

Learn how to decorate “calaveras de azúcar” (sugar skulls) for “Día de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) in one of 5 hands-on learning workshop sessions on Sat., Oct. 29 and Sun., Oct. 30 led by Sacramento’s I Love Sugar Skulls, whose work is featured in the temporary exhibit “Day of the Dead: Art of Día de los Muertos 2016.“ Advance registration and payment of $20.00 materials fee per person are required, each session limited to a maximum of 40 participants. For more information or to register, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/skull-workshop-2016.

ABOUT CALIFORNIA MUSEUM:

A self-supporting 501(c)3 non-profit, the California Museum — home of the California Hall of Fame — engages, educates and enlightens people about California’s rich history and unique contributions to the world through ideas, innovation, the arts and culture. Through interactive and innovative experiences, the Museum inspires visitors to pursue the California dream and to make their own mark on history. Open Tues.-Sat. 10:00 a.m-5:00 p.m.; Sun.: 12:00-5:00 p.m.; closed Mondays (except on federal holidays). Admission: adults $9.00; college students & seniors $7.50 with valid ID; youth 6-17: $7.00; children 5 and under free.