Curated by Giovanna Violi, MA

that death holds in most Western traditions. On the other, the dazzling colours and imagery belonging to this unique celebration, are sometimes appropriated and misinterpreted.

Far from claiming a complete rendering of all Dia de los Muertos aspects and nuances, this exhibition is aimed at giving the viewer a snippet of what this astonishing celebration is like as observed, experienced and thought of by several artists, both insiders and outsiders of Mexican culture. A dialogue is thus created between the various points of view, allowing the viewer to appreciate the liminal space that can be found between the realities of life and death, opposite, yet so close to each other as celebrated in Dia de los Muertos, as well as the problematic phenomenon of cultural appropriation, often defended through claims of appreciation, that sometimes affect the festivities.

An exploration of the complexity of a magnificent tradition, Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”), which originated centuries ago within the Mexica civilization and is still widely celebrated today. Every year, on November 2nd, it is believed that the dead come back to the world of the living who joyously share time with them during a single night, offering them food and beverage, lighting candles, and remembering and honoring them in a whirlwind of lights and colors.  

As often happens, this festivity has evolved, changed, and diversified over time and space. Today, given the diasporic movement of people, Dia de los Muertos has been exported to countries all over the world. On one hand, this offers outsiders to Mexican culture the opportunity to observe and appreciate the profound acceptance this culture demonstrates toward death and its importance in the cycle of life, particularly in comparison with the negative connotation 


Portraying Vida © Lily Dabdoub

Portraying Vida © Lily Dabdoub

Lily Dabdoub

This work is an ongoing exploration of light, life and possibly a personal emotional insight. From her cognitive neuroscience and psychology background Lily Dabdoub has been influenced to explore the human need to acknowledge what life is about. 

This image comes from a series of photographs she has taken over the period of 6 years at different places in México City and Merida where Día de Muertos is deeply embedded in the spiritual need to make peace with the certainty of death.

More on Lily Dabdoub's practice.

Under the Sun of Satan | © Alex Kay

Under the Sun of Satan | © Alex Kay

Alex Kay

Reinvestigating Frida Kahlo's famous photograph by Nickolas Murray (1937) which graced the cover of Vogue. Kay's distortion seeks to challenge her reality: one may see her as a saint, someone else would say she was a sinner. 

Frida is juxtaposed against a page from The Holy Bible and overlaid with primal writings and covered in encaustic wax; metaphors for Absolute Truth.

More on Alex Kay's practice.

Untitled | © Vaughan Risher

Untitled | © Vaughan Risher

Vaughan Risher

As a direct response to cultural appropriation Risher amalgamated Mexican and American culture into one, juxtaposing them together in this depiction he references both the stars and stripes of the United States flag and the Mexican traditions of Day of the Dead.

Furthermore, his inclusion of butterfly symbolism challenges the reversal of cultural impact, thus questioning rebirth, culture, nationality and appropriation simultaneously. (WIP)

More on Vaughan Risher's practice.


 

Square Gallery

9B Battersea Square

London

SW11 3RA

United Kingdom

 

Exhibition

Dec 9 – 11, 2016

VIP Preview

Dec 9 at 7:30 pm (Invite only)

Lecture

Dec 10 at 4:30 - 6:00 pm

Children Workshop

Dec 11 at 10:30 am