SOUTH BEND — The University of Notre Dame has been hosting an art exhibit showcasing altars created by artists to remember those who have not been alive for fifteen years. This is the fourth year that the annual celebration will take place at the NDCAC. Notre Dame is inviting members of the South Bend community to participate in the 2016 celebration by creating their own altars. These altars will be on view in the Crossroads Gallery for Contemporary Art for the month of October and for the celebration on Nov. 2.
Ofrendas (offerings) or Altares (altars) are made in memory of the deceased and are a good example of the cultural hybridity of this holiday. These altares/ofrendas are either built at the gravesite or in the home, and include offerings of food, water and personal possessions of the deceased. Oftentimes a photograph of the deceased is placed within the ofrenda which is usually built in a three-tier pyramid type structure. The bottom level representing Mitlan the underworld, the middle section representing earth and the top representing the heavens. A traditional ofrenda includes the four elements of wind, fire, water and earth, represented through papel picado (wind), candles (fire), beverages (water) and flowers (earth). Other elements included in a traditional altar are personal belongings or any items that honor a loved one.
This year Notre Dame is inviting community members to create their own ofrendas dedicated to a deceased loved one in the Crossroads Gallery for Contemporary Art at the NDCAC. These will be the focus of the Día de los Muertos event being held on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Ofrendas are to be installed in the gallery during September for display through the month of October and removed immediately at the end of the Nov. 2 celebration. Proposal applications can be found at this website. They can also be picked up a the Notre Dame Center for Arts & Culture at 1045 W. Washington Street or at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies located in McKenna Hall.
Applying is free, as is participating in the event. Qualifying altars will be eligible to receive up to $50 for supplies with receipts. Applications must be submitted by Aug. 8.