Chicago Celebrates Day of the Dead

Originally written Oct. 30

 

day-of-dead
Chicagoans take pictures of deceased loved ones projected onto The National Museum of Mexican Art on Sunday October 29.

Yvonne Bustos pulled out her camera as the smiling face of her friend’s grandmother was projected on the façade of the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Yvonne  has been attending the museum’s Day of the Dead event for as long as she can remember. The museum has celebrated the Mexican holiday of remembrance for 30 years with exhibitions inside, yet Sunday night was the second year it had honored the deceased with a slideshow projected across the wall’s of the museum’s main space.

“This is actually the park I grew up playing and this is the museum I’ve come to since I’m a baby so the area is just really close, and today is something that we can all come and get together, it’s personal for me also,” said Bustos.

The day is personal for many in the Pilsen neighborhood, known for its large Mexican community. A popular way to honor the dead is to create alters called Ofrendas, which are decorated with pictures, flowers, candles and other items the deceased loved.

“Usually we have exhibitions inside about personal ofrendas, so we were thinking why don’t we make our festival bigger this year and have our museum itself become a giant ofrenda so people could recognize people from their community by literally seeing them projected 20 feet high in the air,” said Eric Garcia, teaching artist for the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Over 10,000 people gathered outside to see loved ones from the community projected onto the building, many taking pictures on their phones to have a piece of the night.

“I help to upload the pictures of people’s deceased loved ones and the family asks me a lot of questions about it and happen to get really emotional cause it means a lot to them that they get this recognition on the building,” said receptionist, Dora Becerra.

Garcia said that the slideshow projection will likely continue in the years to come due to its popularity. “Dias Muertos is about remembering loved ones who are no longer with us, so we wanted to make a bigger interactive ofrenda with the museum, it’s been really nice.”

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