Waco's own "Dia de los Muertos" exhibit opens Oct. 31 at the Art Forum of Waco and it pays tribute to not only a rich cultural heritage but the memory of those who have passed away.
The ritual has a deep meaning for the artists who created the display. A tradition that pre-dates Spanish arrival in Mexico is cradled in the hands of Waco artist Rocio-Ramirez Landoll.
"El Dia de los Muertos," she starts to read from the legend.
"Day of the Dead" honors the deceased every Nov. 1 - 2.
"We are not sad. It is a part of life, no?" said Rocio.
Her hands placed the marigold petals at the foot of the ofrenda. Their color and scent guide the spirits to the altar. Each element carefully placed and dripping in symbolism and substance.
"It is very special to see the ofrenda in the U.S. and I want to share my traditions from Mexico. I want to learn about the other cultures," said Rocio.
It is an education of culture for former Waco ISD art teacher Deborah Reed-Propst whose work is part of the artist's exhibit.
"It makes me feel like souls are not forgotten. To celebrate the fact that people have passed on but their soul is still alive," Deborah said.
She will place the picture of her late husband on the ofrenda, but the pang is also mixed with joy.
"I like the community feeling the ofrenda brings. It's sad and happy at the same time. I like that melancholy feeling about it," said Deborah.
"I would rather feel that way when I think of my late husband or my father or anybody else who died. I'd rather feel that way," she said.
The great Mexican Poet and Writer Octavio Paz once said, "No one dies from death...we die from living."
"What does that mean to you?" asked Central Texas News Now Anchor Lindsay Liepman.
"In this life, we are here for a short time," said Rocio. "...and we need to enjoy the life."
You can view the exhibit from now until Nov. 17 at the Art Forum of Waco located at 1826 Morrow Avenue.
All ages are invited to opening night from 6 - 9 p.m. with face painting, spirits and artists there to celebrate the exhibit's opening.
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