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Oakland Museum of California Presents 21st Annual Días de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) Exhibition-Oct. 14, 2015–Jan. 3, 2016 with Community Celebration Oct. 25

(Oakland, CA)—Celebrating the theme of memorial across cultures, the Oakland Museum of California’s (OMCA) 21st annual Días de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) exhibition Rituals + Remembrances, on view October 14, 2015 through January 3, 2016, explores how Mexican, Salvadoran, Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese and other communities view death, memory, and healing. Rituals + Remembrances includes new and existing work by artists Nancy Hom, Lilli Lanier, Yvonne Escalante, Charles Valoroso, Bryan Keith Thomas, Safety First ©, Paco Garcia, Melanie Cervantes, and Jesus Barraza, as well as installations created by MetWest High School, Sankofa Academy, and the Alameda County Public Health Department. The exhibition, curated by OMCA Curator of Public Practice Evelyn Orantes, will be presented in the Low Bay gallery located on the second level of the Museum. The extremely popular Days of the Dead Community Celebration, featuring performances, hands-on family art activities, art and craft demonstrations, an artisanal mercado, festive food vendors, and other special programs, will be held on Sunday, October 25, from 11 am to 4 pm throughout the Museum grounds and exhibition and is included with regular Museum admission. For more information, visit

Some examples of artists and work featured in the 2015 exhibition include:

Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza
These collaborative artists, well known for their political posters and printing company Dignidad Rebelde, remember queer family members who were compelled to keep their sexuality hidden from family and the public in a moving installation.

Nancy Hom
Using a variety of objects both personal and public, Nancy Hom will create a 6-foot mandala starting with collaged remembrances at the center of the piece honoring friends and family who have passed, to people who from the community that have touched and inspired her life touched her life in some way. Hom’s mandala will be the centerpiece of a walking labyrinth that will guide visitors on a metaphorical journey from loss to remembrance. The labyrinth will incorporate shadow box installations created by students at the Sankofa Academy elementary school.

Charles Valoroso
The artist will reflect his Filipino and Hawaiian cultural heritage and honor his family members through an altar installation using cultural materials and objects that reflect his hybrid upbringing. Valoroso’s installation will provide a meaningful bridge to Pacific Worlds exhibition on view in the adjacent High Bay gallery at OMCA.

Yvonne Escalante
Escalante’s engaging, intimate and interactive music boxes honor the artist’s Salvadoran father and German-American maternal grandfather. The rotating glass corn cobs that activate the music boxes represent a deep connection to farming on both sides of her family and underscore the importance of a common crop to agrarian cultures across the Americas and throughout time.

Lilli Lanier
Lanier will create an origami portrait of her grandmother, important California artist Ruth Asawa, using a particular fold Asawa taught to her as a child. The work contrasts the expressive uses of paper in different cultures such as Japanese origami and Mexican papel picado traditions in remembrance of the dead.

Beginning in 2016, OMCA will re-envision its Days of the Dead offerings, continuing the popular annual Community Celebrations, well-attended Days of the Dead school programs, and Friday Nights @ OMCA programming, while shifting presentation of the exhibition to every other year. The new biennial Days of the Dead exhibitions will tie in with the Museum’s broadening and deepening engagement with community exploring current, topical issues and themes in ways similar to its recent and highly successful Who is Oakland? and Pacific Worlds exhibitions. Days of the Dead will maintain its hallmark as one of the Bay Area’s signature, long-standing events while simultaneously tying closely to year-round Museum programming that listens and responds to as broad a community as possible in ways that reflect the public’s interests, voices, and values.

Community Celebration
The 21st Annual Days of the Dead Community Celebration on October 25 will feature main stage performances ranging from contemporary popular music to folkloric dance, Mariachi to Aztec dance. An artisanal mercado will highlight the OMCA Store and local vendors featuring traditional and contemporary apparel, craft, artwork, and food. Altar installations throughout the Museum campus will highlight contributions from local community groups, including schools, nonprofits, and community partners. A selection of festive food highlighting the Bay Area’s diversity of cuisines will be offered for purchase from Off the Grid vendors, and Bike East Bay will provide a bike valet service.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) brings together collections of art, history, and natural science under one roof to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. OMCA’s groundbreaking exhibits tell the many stories that comprise California with many voices, often drawing on first-person accounts by people who have shaped California’s cultural heritage. Visitors are invited to actively participate in the Museum as they learn about the natural, artistic, and social forces that affect the state and investigate their own role in both its history and its future. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. Museum admission is $15.95 general; $10.95 seniors and students with valid ID, $6.95 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for Members and children 8 and under. OMCA offers onsite underground parking and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station, on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the 1000 Oak Street main entrance to the Museum.

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