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San Ángel neighborhood in defense of tradition


One hundred offerings in a decade. In San Ángel, the tradition of the Day of the Dead has become a community initiative, in which museum directors, promoters of cultural centers, gallery owners, managers of shopping malls, some restaurants and neighbors get involved every year; These have been a key piece to reposition this neighborhood as an area of ​​historical monuments and tangible and intangible heritage of Mexico City, as it has been declared.

We celebrate ten years of this important effort, a participatory work, to consolidate one of the most deeply-rooted traditions in Mexican culture, based on a program of artistic and training activities that is increasingly rich and imaginative, ”says Fátima Cabañas.

The member of the Union of Settlers of San Ángel, San Ángel Inn and Tlacopac comments in an interview that in 2010 they decided to participate in a more active way, supporting the dissemination and obtaining support in kind, because “we felt that this tradition was being forgotten and today the offerings of the dead are very visited ”.

He explains that “the project went from being an exhibition of offerings to a true festival, where workshops, concerts, talks, book presentations, tours of the five museums located in the area and traditional ceremonies are carried out.”

The communicologist adds that, despite the atypical nature of this 2020, due to the pandemic, they did not want to stop celebrating this tradition and its first ten years of community work, which is why both face-to-face offerings have been organized in seven venues, “that they will be carried out with strict sanitary measures ”, as virtual, among other activities.

He points out that they began to collaborate with museums with the Holy Week Altar of Dolores. “Then came the offerings, which have been very well received. Each space assembles the altar preserving its own vocation, whether in a traditional or conceptual style, with indigenous groups or with viceregal art ”.

Now, he details, the Casa del Risco museums of the Isidro Fabela Cultural Center, the El Carmen Museum, the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Study, the Carrillo Gil Art House and the Soumaya Museum in Plaza Loreto, as well as the National Institute of Historical Studies, participate. of the Revolutions of Mexico (INEHRM) and the Plaza Loreto Shopping and Cultural Center.

Many could not join this year, such as El Cardenal and Galería Toca Madera, but we know that they support that San Ángel is a unique place that preserves its traditions ”, he indicates.

Cabañas clarifies that the offerings of the dead in museums are dedicated to artists or important people. “Thus, the public knows his life and work in a warmer and more emotional way.”


Among the face-to-face offer, the Museo de El Carmen stands out, which presents the exhibition Xólotl, companion from beyond and an offering in honor of the plastic artist Manuel Felguérez (1928-2020), who died last June a victim of covid-19, and the health personnel who died working. Some sculptures by Felguérez are also exhibited.

In the Casa del Risco Museum, the fountain in the patio serves as the base for the offering that pays homage to the founder of the site: Mr. Isidro Fabela (1882-1964). In the interior rooms, after the show The angry magnolia, is located the offering dedicated to Aurora Reyes (1908-1985), the first Mexican muralist.

The draftsman, painter and sculptor Juan Soriano (1920-2006) inspired the offering of the Museo Soumaya in Plaza Loreto. And the Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo Studio House dedicates its altar to the architect Juan O’Gorman (1905-1982), as part of the 115th anniversary of his birth.

And, as part of the virtual activities, the INEHRM offers Leave to return: Day of the Dead, a video that explores the religious and pagan, festive and painful, cultural and mystical links between Mexicans and death.

El Carrillo Gil has opened a microsite for museum collaborators to share images and texts dedicated to their colleagues and relatives killed by covid-19; plus historic capsules of iconic offerings.

And the Union of Settlers, founded in 1993, organized a retrospective show with images of the 100 offerings of the last decade and upload a daily video.

The idea is to spread this tradition so that people feel proud of their identity, ”says Fátima Cabañas. “This cultural work is a way to defend our heritage and fight against the voracity of authorities and developers who threaten to alter it,” he concludes.

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The restored table: Memory and reunion, made in collaboration with the French artist Jean Paul Gaultier (1952), the enfant terrible of fashion, and My juderos They are the offerings of the dead exhibited by the Casa Azul Frida Kahlo Museum and the Diego Rivera Anahuacalli Museum, respectively.

The altar of the Blue House is an installation in which Gaultier’s “loving gaze” towards Mexico and his admiration for the painter Frida Kahlo and the virtuosity of the traditional artists of Guanajuato dialogue. Everything around the work The wounded table, which Kahlo painted in 1940.

In addition, a statement points out, two pieces of Gaultier haute couture are on display at the venue: The black corset and the Purple dress with tie; These works are part of the collection that the designer dedicated to Kahlo in 1998.

Y My juderos is a tribute to the Mexican cartonería artists whose work Diego and Frida appreciated, collected and admired. An original creation by Karla Niño de Rivera, it is mounted in the Anahuacalli space that represents the Underworld, remembering the artists Carmen Caballero and Pedro Linares.

This offering, with papel picado from Casa de la Cruz in Veracruz, honors deceased loved ones, as well as anonymous people, immigrants and those affected by the current pandemic.

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