South Valley community contributes to ofrenda exhibit for Dia de Los Muertos


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With Dia de Los Muertos just around the corner, South Valley residents had the opportunity to take part in honoring their loved ones who have passed away. Ofrendas Comunitarias opened Oct. 8 at the Gutierrez Hubbell House History & Cultural Center.

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Muertos y Marigolds, the organization that puts on the annual Marigold Parade, was not able to hold the parade in 2020 or 2021, so they opted to create an exhibit where the community could still take part in. The exhibit brings together over a dozen artists, community members, local organizations, and schools to honor and celebrate the lives of lost loved ones.

Flora Sanchez, chair of Gutierrez-Hubble House Alliance, said she felt that many people were in a unique mindset this year due to COVID, and were more willing than ever to participate in a community event such as this. “Because we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and don’t feel like we’re just in mourning, that we can focus now on the other side. When you do that, you allow yourself to remember them as they lived, not just the horrible way they died,” Sanchez said.

The exhibit features 11 altars honoring different people and causes important to South Valley residents and organized around the themes of “Unity is the center of community,” and “Recordando a nuestros fallecidos de la pandemia y de la violencia capitalista.” Families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 and domestic violence were able to remember them as part of the exhibit as well.

Altars feature the offerings made by loved ones, which can be anything that symbolizes the likes and interests of those who have died. Altars include objects such as framed photos, cempasúchil or marigold flowers, sugar skulls, water, candles, offerings of favorite foods and beverages, incense, papel picado, and special treats like pan de muertos.

“This particular exhibit, I think, pulls the community into it because of the way it was done and the way it was organized. It’s community-driven, you see the hands-on every single altar. You see it and know that people touched it, real people, people from this community, people of the South Valley. I think that’s what’s so lively, vibrant, and awesome about it,” Sanchez said.

This exhibit was conceived with and co-curated with the Muertos y Marigolds South Valley Dia de Los Muertos Celebration committee. The exhibit is on display during museum open hours of 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thursday – Saturday. Guests can visit now through Nov. 13.

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