‘…The word of death is not pronounced in Paris, New York, or London because it burns the lips. The Mexican, in contrast, is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it; it is one of his favourite toys and his most steadfast love.’
‘The Labyrinth of Solitude’ Octavio La Paz, 1950
The Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead is Mexico’s most vibrant and widely celebrated holiday. Although it may seem a little ghoulish, it is a festival of love and happiness rather than of mourning, celebrating the return of lost loved ones for one night only with food, music and laughter. In some parts of Mexico the family spend the whole night in the graveyard! They polish the tombstones and a picnic is laid on the tomb.
Here in the UK it is taken perhaps a little less seriously, but the whole world has fallen in love with the colour, vibrancy and macabre humour of this Mexican tradition. It’s decorations and dress have inspired many an artist, and moreover, there are countless artists who, as the Dia de los Muertos does, find beauty and comfort in celebrating death.
Celebrating the Dia de los Muertos in style's Process
Lino print artist and Nelly Duff veteran Chris Bourke, is widely recognised for his incorporation of skeletons and skulls into his work, taking inspiration from traditional Mexican imagery, as well as spiritual and tattoo symbolism, resulting in charming and often incredibly romantic editions! The skull itself is a highly used motif throughout the entire art world, regardless of medium or origin, and has inspired many a Nelly Duff artist to create some absolutely beautiful editions. In this spirit, Nelly Duff will be taking part in a road-wide celebration of the Dia de los Muertos on Saturday 28th October all day. Occupying the whole of Columbia Road, this brilliant event will be raising money for St. Joseph’s Hospice, so come along, and bring your dancing shoes!