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Dia de Los Muertos in Grand Park

Grand Park unveils specially commissioned altars by noted community artists for the Park's First Día de Los Muertos, Nov. 2

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: November 2, 2012


Dia de Los Muertos in Grand Park


Grand Park unveiled a group of altars specially created by noted community artists to salute the many cultures and people who have contributed to the growth and development of Los Angeles.

The altars will be on exhibit to the public as part of Grand Park's first Dia de los Muertos celebration on November 2, 2012 from 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. The event features the multi-ethnic tradition of creating and displaying altars to honor ancestors, food trucks, bands and more.

According to Grand Park Director Lucas Rivera, the Grand Park celebration offers a twist on the design and showcase of the altars. "We wanted to do something a bit different to celebrate this holiday by offering the community the opportunity to enjoy artistic interpretations of the traditional Dia de los Muertos altars," Rivera explained. "The beauty and flexibility of Grand Park lends itself to artistic expression and we are honored and proud to showcase some of Los Angeles' most acknowledged artists and their creative interpretations."

The artistic team includes:

Artist: Ofelia Esparza – Celebrated master altar maker, who is widely known for her 30 years of Día de los Muertos altar installations at Self Help Graphics & Art. Her prints and paintings are in several private and institutional collections and has been exhibited throughout Southern California and at a number of prominent national and international museums and galleries, including The Latino Museum of History, Art & Culture; LACMA; Museum of Latino Art at Long Beach; Orange Center of Contemporary Art; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; San Jose Heritage Plaza Art Center; The Mexican Museum San Francisco; and the Mexican Fine Art Museum of Chicago. http://www.sacred-origins.com

Altar: "Para los Abuelos y Abuelitas" – Dedicated to the grandparents who came to the United States to build a better life for their children and future generations.

Artist: Lalo Alcaraz – Perhaps the most prolific Chicano artist in the nation and creator of the first nationally-syndicated, politically-themed Latino daily comic strip, "La Cucaracha," syndicated by United Press Syndicate. Alcaraz's work has appeared in major media outlets, including the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, Latina Magazine, CNN, NPR among many others. He is currently a faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. Alcaraz is also the founder of the humor web site pocho.com. http://www.laloalcaraz.com

Altar: "Viva el Arte" – Honors those who fought to earn the right to vote.

Artist: Tony Dominguez – Known as "The Piñata King," Tony Dominguez has created large Dia de los Muertos papier-mâché sculptures in Los Angeles for more than 25 years. He is the co-founder of the now- defunct Festival de la Gente Muertos celebration and is currently producing the "La Muerte Vive" rock opera/cabaret. His desire to provide a creative outlet for the youth within the community developed into a way of life for those same youth, to show them that with their artistic skills, their dreams of success could become a reality. He felt a responsibility for his apprentices, having experienced the same difficulties when growing up in East Los Angeles. Dominguez is said to be the "general de papel mache...the greatest papier- mâché artist in the country, if not the world." http://www.lamuertevive.com

Altar: "La Muerte Vive" – Showcases his papier-mâché sculptures, which have been important parts of Los Angeles' Día de los Muertos celebrations for more than 25 years.

Artist: Germs (Jaime Zacarias) – Visual artist and South Los Angeles who is seemingly infected with an innate ability to channel the spirits of our surrealist predecessors. He is known for cleverly stylized Luchador masks given life by their protruding tentacles, surrounded by floating amoebas that playfully flirt with their viewers' imaginations. GERMS most recent body of work is titled "Fasho," meaning "for sure," a play on words that gives the artist total freedom to use the space as a playground. http://www.germs4u.com

Altar: "Virgen de Guada-Los Angeles" – A special tribute to the City of Los Angeles that honors all those Angelenos who are no longer alive and who called the City home.

Artist: Yolanda Gonzalez – An accomplished painter born into a family whose artistic heritage dates back to 1877. She is known for her strong, bold brush strokes of color and texture, intent on evoking imagination and emotion. Gonzalez studied at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design. She joined Self-Help Graphics and traveled to Spain and Scotland. Over the years she has exhibited her works in solo and group exhibitions across the United States, throughout Europe and in South Africa http://www.yolandagonzalez.com

Altar: "In Memory of Our Fathers Alfonso Escamilla & Leopoldo Cardenas Gonzalez;" joining with artist Edward Escamilla to honor their fathers, two prominent Boyle Heights community leaders in the 1950s. Gonzalez' father also worked on the Red Car line in 1942.

Artist: Laura Molina – Painter, writer and musician who was born in East Los Angeles and began her career as a professional artist at the age of 16, producing large-scale production paintings and sculptures for a company that builds floats for the Tournament of Roses. She studied painting at the Art Center College of Design and life drawing at the American Animation Institute. Molina formed much of her aesthetic as a reaction to the images she saw perpetuated in the popular media. Her projects have included the Naked Dave series of paintings; a self-published comic book; and Cihualyaomiquiz, The Jaguar, a reaction to California's Proposition 187. She is listed in The Great Women Cartoonists by Trina Robbins published by Watson-Guptill in 2001. Her biography and five of her paintings were included in Contemporary Chicano and Chicana Art published by Bilingual Review / Press in 2002. http://www.lauramolina.com

Altar: "Pioneers in Science and Science Fiction" – Honors leaders who have advanced science and science fiction, including Ray Bradbury, Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride, Christa McAuliffe, Gene Roddenberry, James Doohan and Stanley Kubrick.

Artist: Timoi (Susana de Leon) – Multimedia artist, graffiti writer and women's rights advocate who was born in Guatemela and raised in Los Angeles since 1990. Her journey into the world of art began at the age of six. Her social and political work includes a role as president of the Mujeres Iniciando do las Americas, a non- profit organization that builds bridges of understanding and helps eradicate violence against women. Her inspirations include science-fiction, religion, faith, gangster lifestyle, surrealism, nature and animals, among others. http://www.timoi.com

Altar: "Colors of the Soul," created in the tradition of the artist's native Guatemala; composed of three elements: the Altar, the Tomb and the Kites.

Curator: Victor Payan – Award-winning artist and arts consultant who organizes public events that promote tolerance, understanding and community empowerment. He is currently creative director for the OC Film Fiesta multicultural film festival and senior writer for the national news and satire site pocho.com. An accomplished arts administrator, Payan served as director of programs and development coordinator for the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) and as co-director of the CineFestival en San Antonio Latino film festival.

Co-curator: Sanda "Poncha" Pena – Award-wining filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist whose Bolivian and Chicano heritage cultivated her skill at subverting pop culture imagery. She founded the OC Film Fiesta multicultural film festival and has curated and directed festivals in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Antonio. She is a recipient of the 2010 Idea Fund grant, a regranting program funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. http://www.pocharte.com

Musical performers include:

Mariachi El Bronx – Acoustic alter ego of acclaimed LA-based punk band The Bronx take traditional mariachi music and inject it with a modern day punk vigor to create something startling natural and incredibly infectious. http://www.mariachielbronx.com/

El Conjunto Nueva Ola – Hailing from Mexico City, the six-man group, adorned in luchador masks, have created a singular sound by mixing the traditional rhythms of cumbia with the catchy pop of new wave. http://www.conjuntonuevaola.com/

Upground – An energetic fusion of reggae, Latin, ska, cumbia and rock, the East Los Angeles band has opened for War, The Killers, Los Lobos, Tierra and Ozomatli and won the 2006 Spring Battle of the Bands, outperforming 400 other acts. https://www.facebook.com/UPGROUNDMUSIC

Buyepongo – With roots in South and Central America, Buyepongo draws heavily from the Latino musical culture and informs their music with the punk rock, hip-hop, reggae, jazz and funk of their youth. Taking their cues from traditional "roots" music of Colombia, Haiti, Belize, Honduras and the Dominican Republic, Buyepongo creates a very vibrant polyrhythmic sound by seamlessly fusing merengue, punta and cumbia. The group's pulse and power is built around the drum and guacharaca, giving them an upbeat tropical flare. http://www.buyepongo.com/

Trio Ellas – This all-female power trio from Los Angeles makes music somewhere between traditional mariachi and classic romantic trio with a fresh contemporary twist.
http://www.trioellas.com/

About Grand Park A vibrant outdoor community gathering place for all, Grand Park adds a new spirit and vitality to downtown and is a beautiful public park for the entire community in Los Angeles County. With expansive green space for gatherings large and small, Grand Park celebrates the cultural vitality of Los Angeles County and is host to community events, cultural experiences, holiday celebrations and many other activities that engage and attract visitors from all communities throughout the county.

One of the biggest parks in downtown Los Angeles, the 12-acre Grand Park stretches from The Music Center on the west to City Hall on the east. Under the direction of the county, Grand Park was developed by Related Companies with an award-winning creative team, including landscape architect, Rios Clementi Hale Studios; general contractor, Charles Pankow Builders; environmental graphic design firm, Sussman/Prejza; and fountain design consultants, Fluidity. For more information, visit http://www.grandparkla.org

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