Dia de los Muertos

Crowds gather every year right after Halloween to celebrate the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos which translates into Day of the Dead. This year in the heart of Los Angeles on 3300 Wilshire Blvd. at The Chapel, the group ArtShowLA has put together a neotraditional Day of the Dead celebration.

Nestled into the halls of
The Chapel were glowing candles, arranged flowers, artwork, and live music. The altars
were focused on honoring artists that have inspired and have passed on including Frida
Kahlo, Jimmy Hendrix, and Bob Marley. Other altars were set up for deceased graffiti
artists and photos of models.

The holiday originates from Mexico and is celebrated once a year when people
come together to honor and remember those who have left an impact on people's lives.
Altars are built for the remembrance of a loved one or respected person and many times
sugar skulls and flowers are decorated around a photo or painting. Many of the altars have favorite foods or beverages of the departed and it is a way for people to remember and show appreciation for whoever has passed.

At The Chapel the traditional ideas of the Day of the Dead holiday were kept intact with many of the altars covered in the traditional marigold flower and sugar
skulls. Some of the altars had political messages on them with one altar holding photos of Barack Obama and signs stating "Progress" and "Vote."

Frida Kahlo was a popular artist for the night with many altars set up around portraits of her and photos of her.
Candles were everywhere as people walked around paying respects to these influential

An artist who signed their work "Angel A." was one of the artists whose paintings were showcased at the night's event. Huge paintings of Mexican wrestlers and musicians performing were lit and honored. Along with the paintings was photography by Martha Galvin that depicted women in black and white photos wearing high fashion pieces. The mix of contemporary and traditional artwork was a significant part of the

Alongside these traditional ideas of Dia de los Muertos there was also music
playing throughout the night by DJ Matt Respect and alcohol was served. The DJ mixed
contemporary beats with hip hop music and the liveliness bounced off the walls of the
church. Music was a big part of the evening as people talked with one another and
admired the set up of the night.

People were still coming in even late into the evening to take photos of the altars and listen to the DJ. One local Los Angeles resident makes time every year to attend a Dia de los Muertos celebration. "It's such an important part of Los Angeles' culture. The altars are so beautiful and moving," said Oscar Ruiz.

The mood was set with very low lighting and candles and marigolds filled the table where
people checked in. A moving celebration left people with much to reflect on at The
Chapel where music and art came together for one special evening.