fresno dia de los muertos arte americas 2014 - canto de los muertos

The 27th Annual Día de los Muertos Exhibition
at Arte Américas : Casa de la Cultura

Over the past twenty-seven years, Arte Américas has taken the lead in presenting a celebration of the Mexican tradition of El Día De Los Muertos; this presented as CANTO DE LOS MUERTOS. 

The title of the exhibition inspired by the Pablo Neruda poem, "When I Die I Want Your Hands On My Eyes"

Quiero que lo que amo siga vivo
y a ti te amé y canté sobre todas las cosas,
por eso sigue tú floreciendo, florida,

para que alcances todo lo que mi amor te ordena,
para que se pasee mi sombra por tu pelo,
para que así conozcan la razón de mi canto.

I want for what I love to go on living
and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
so that my shadow passes through your hair,
so that they know by this the reason for my song.

 Within the grand space of the Ruiz Gallery, four large-scale installation ofrendas -- or altars  -- allow the observer the opportunity to be completely embraced by the spirit of each environment.  Each sacred space containing remnants of memories and artistic/visual tributes to the individuals in whose memories they were created.

This year's exhibition features works by artist from throughout the Central Valley and state of California.  Some of the cities represented are Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, Stockton, and Washington D.C.    Throughout the expanse of the building, every possible galleryspace is incorporated into the exhibition. 

In the Fresno Art Museum Parnership Gallery we are featuring three impressive groupings of work by over twenty individual artists:
  • Hand-selected works from the private collection of Los Angeles art patrons Henry and Yolanda Chavez 
  • Emerging young artist from the Art House collective
  • Artists chosen from the Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery of Stockton
Additionally, we are screening the short film written and directed by three students from Ringling College of Art and Design: Ashley Graham, Kate Reynolds and Lindsey St. Pierre.  The film won Gold Medal at the 2013 Student Academy Award for Best Animated Short and captures the spirit of El Día de los Muertos beautifully without the use of dialogue.


El Día de los Muertos has produced festive, somber, and emotional celebrations since indigenous times on our continent.  The story of the metamorphosis of this holiday is the very history of Mexico: from the native traditions through The Conquest, conversion to Catholicism, and to the colorfully unique and festive Mexican expression that we revive and celebrate today. 

The traditional celebration of the holiday is observed annually on November 2, and based on the indigenous belief that once a year the deceased return.  Although they are invisible to those around them, they take comfort in the family’s remembrance of them; otherwise these souls could experience eternal despair if their memory has been forgotten. The concept of celebrating memories of the deceased is best exemplified in the Mexican saying: we each die three deaths:
  • When our bodies cease to function
  • When the body is returned to Mother Earth, out of sight
  • When there is no one left to utter our name.

El Día de los Muertos has, in recent years, become increasingly familiar to individuals beyond those of Mexican heritage. 

Sugar skull and skeleton iconography (calacas in Spanish) have permeated graffiti, lowrider, and tattoo culture; and inspired a newly revived fascination with all things related to or symbolizing El Día de los Muertos

Works featured in the CANTO DE LOS MUERTOS exhibition not only represent images and objects based on tradition, but also modern interpretations which draw on popular culture. 

The two are featured side-by-side  as an example of the infinite possibilities when artists are inspired by the ancient holiday.

Participating Artists:
Cecilia Aranaydo
Rosita Arenas
Reyes Arte
Cathy Ashford
Erik Beltran
Lisa Cabrera
Steven Nuñes Camacho
Ruby Chacon
Nerdy Chavez
Henry "Loco" Contreras
Tony deCarlo
Lily Del Valle  
LeeAnn DiCicco
Jorge Elizade
Rodolfo Garcia
Rick and Sandy Garcia
Carissa, Felicita & Sylvia Garcia
Leo Gaspe
Creighton Geigle
Chalome, Maia, and David Gonzalez
Juan Gonzalez
Jorge Guillen
Raquel Gutierrez
Jeannette L. Herrera 

Abigail Janzen  
Samantha Lazcano
David Lozeau
Luz Lua
Oscar Magallenes
Aydee Lopez Martinez
Ramiro Martinez
Adam Mena
Luz Elena Mendez
Andres Montoya
Raoul Mora
Amalia    Paz
Ester Petschar
Mathew "Inners" Ponce
Helen Rael
Alberto  Ramirez
Norberto Ramirez
Richard  Rios
Gabriela Ruiz
F. John Sierra
Patsi Valdez
Esteban Villa  
Irene Valenzuela
Robert Youngman

"DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS" ( Animated Short Film)

Ashley Graham
Kate Reynolds
Lindsey St. Pierre



Cecelia Aranaydo
Dr. Rosita Arenas
Nancy Marquez
Helen Rael
Dolores Olmos-Rodriguez
Diana Rodriquez


Frank Delgado


Frank Delgado
Adam Mena

Rebecca Caraveo

Marcos Contreras

Sara Zamora

Laura Rios

Alliance for California Traditional Arts  (ACTA)

California Arts Council

Fresno Regional Foundation

Granville Homes

National Endowment for the Arts

Funded in part by the California Arts Council, a State agency, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Darius Assemi 
Aztlan Xpressions Gallery

Art House

Ballet Folklórico de México
de Amalia Hernández

Jesse Buglione

Henry and Yolanda Chavez

Gracie Madrid

Oscar Magallanes

Mexican Heritage Center and
Gallery of Stockton

MiiCamisa Screenprinting

Felipe C Radrigán

Roberto Radrigán

Richard Rios