Ontario Museum honors Dia de Los Muertos with exhibit

Jayleen De La Cruz
Staff Writer 

The Ontario Museum of History and Art hosted a community reception for its 25th annual Dia de los Muertos Exhibition, “Dia de los Muertos: Recuerdos de Sabores,” on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.

The event was open to the public to help and celebrate El Dia de los Muertos, a Hispanic tradition where people are able to pay their respects and remember those who have passed. 

This year’s theme was food, which helps focus on the different aspects that make not only Hispanic culture unique but also enrich traditions such as Dia de los Muertos.

Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on Nov. 1-2.

The museum arts and culture director Marissa Kucheck said that it does not matter what background you come from in order to celebrate this event. 

“Different cultures grieve and deal with the loss of a loved one and that can look in a lot of different ways,” Kucheck said. “But even if Dia de Los Muertos is not part of your culture, there is this kind of commonality of traditions that comes into play with funerary practices.”

As guests arrived, they had the opportunity to enjoy four of the vibrant art exhibits inside the museum, showcasing Hispanic cultural traditions. 

The exhibit had acrylic, oil and water color paintings, ceramic skull figurines and a recipe book, “Recuerdo de Sabores,” with authentic Hispanic recipes.

There were about ten different ofrendas, which are altars decorated with flowers, photos and food that the deceased liked to eat. Each ofrenda was dedicated to the family members of the artist who created and put together the altar.

But even though this event is showcasing Hispanic art, not all of the artwork is done by someone with a Hispanic background.

Museum Assistant Fernando Lopez said that artists of different backgrounds are able to contribute to the exhibits and they end up giving their own twist on the art which helps to enrich the culture.

After people had the opportunity to look at the different exhibits, they could venture to the museum’s outside patio and enjoy some traditional Hispanic dances and vendors.

They were: a body decor and candy station, traditional Mexican dolls, community service assistance and a Folklorico, a traditional Hispanic group dance.

The museum had the Folklorico dancers, ranging from all ages, perform two sets where they were able to showcase some authentic Hispanic dances.

The dancers wore traditional Mexican outfits that can be pointed out by their vibrant colors, embroidery and ruffled skirts, their hairstyles which is two braids sectioned to make a circle in the head with a ribbon in the middle, and their vibrant makeup which is composed of their unique red lipstick and colorful eyeshadow. All this added to their shown enthusiasm and made the audience throw praises and cheers at them, at the end of every piece.

Event performer and Ontario resident Claudia Nuñez with the Ballet Folklorico Herencia Hispana said that she feels happy that there are places that host events like these, which represent Hispanic culture, and that she is honored and proud to be able to represent her community.

As people were leaving the event, they had the opportunity to stop by the gift shop where they could buy authentic Hispanic merchandise like bags, books and other tokens.

Events that celebrate a specific culture are the best way for a person to learn more about their heritage or learn something new.

“I like how very personal the exhibits are,” said Ontario resident Mike Padilla. “It feels very personal to me and therefore I can identify with it from my own background”

“Dia de los Muertos: Recuerdos de Sabores” will be on display through Nov. 19. 

For more information visit, ontariomuseum.org.

Jayleen De La Cruz can be reached at jayleen.delacruz@laverne.edu.

Jayleen De La Cruz is a sophomore communication major with a concentration in public relations and a staff writer at the Campus Times for Fall 2023.

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