This past Sunday we participated in the Dia De Los Muertos Festival in Canoga Park. There was music, food, arts, crafts, altars, custom car show, and of course, street painting.
Dia De Los Muertos (aka: The Day of the Dead) is a holiday celebrated in Latin and North American countries. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember loved ones who have passed on. There is a common misconception that Dia De Los Muertos is the "Mexican Halloween." Actually, it is believed to be a fusion of an existing Native tradition of honoring the dead with the Catholic holidays All Saints' Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls' Day (Nov. 2). And although face painting and dressing as skeletons is a part of the festivities, it is intended to make light of the very serious subject of death and loss and to celebrate our short life in this realm. Traditions include building offrendas (or altars) honoring the deceased. Offrendas are usually decorated with sugar skulls, marigolds, photographs, favorite foods and beverages of the departed.
At this particular festival, all the street painters / muralists chose artworks in the spirit of Dia De Los Muertos: from paintings of deceased family or pets, to skeletons, to representations of Latin American culture. We chose to do a reproduction of a Sylvia Ji painting. Ji is a California artist whose portraits of beautiful women in calavara face painting have gotten much attention in the low-brow and urban art scenes. In fact, many people at the festival immediately recognized her work, which made it easy for festival goers to approach us and talk to us about the original artwork.
At the end of the day all the artists voted for their favorite street murals under the following categories: "Funniest", "Scariest", "Most Beautiful", and "Best in Show" There were so many amazing and diverse street paintings so it was a very pleasant surprise when we were announced as the winners for "Most Beautiful."
Thank you for everyone who came out and supported us! It was a great time. The event staff were friendly and helpful, the children were so enthralled with the artwork, there were thousands of people, we reconnected with some street artists we hadn't seen in a while and we even got our photo in the Daily News. All in all, it was a great way to spend a Sunday.