WALSENBURG — The Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, was celebrated in art at the Museum of Friends, Friday November 13, with many fine pieces of art picturing the various ways cultures view the universal fate of all humans. Even though the holiday itself is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout that country, in particular the Central and South regions, it is also acknowledged around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. Remembered by Brendt Berger and Maria Cocchiarelli-Berger, the art exhibit and celebration was dedicated to Steven Kennedy, a close friend of the Berger’s whose recent death was still on their minds as they prepared for the showing. Among artists who had work on display were Ray Espinoza, Maria Cocchiarelli-Berger, Brendt Berger, and Brian Orr. Each piece or collection showed the individual talents and tastes of the artists whether in paintings, renderings, or
photographs. Even though many of the artists focused on depicting the idea of death in tangible form such as skeletons or skulls, others focused on the use of abstract impressionist techniques to show the inevitability of the forward march of generations into the “long good night.” The two largest collections on display are the works by Espinoza and the photographs by Orr. Espinoza put on display his work from 1970, The Year of the Chicano, with two posters. The first was a beautifully done piece displaying farm labor organizer, Cesar Chavez. In the print he is holding a flag that is titled “Huelga,” meaning strike. The second poster from 1970 depicted Ernesto “Che” Guevara, one of the leaders of the Cuban Revolution. The poster called for chicanos to view conditions faced by Latino and Hispanic labor as platforms for unity of purpose and vision. Espinoza also produced copies of paintings originally made by Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter who worked in surrealism and magical realism. The paintings show a scene from each of her two weddings to Diego Rivera, another famous Mexican artist. Several photographs by Orr show details of altars used in celebration of the Dia de los Muertos. One photograph shows a detail from a painting by artist Joan Hanley. The celebration and exhibit was attended by around 100 aficionados who viewed the art, danced to music performed by Planet O, and visited with each other. The exhibit for Dia de los Muertos runs until December 1, 2015.