With passion, joy, and inclusiveness, the Oakland Museum of California hosts an annual exhibition and celebration of Los Dí as de los Muertos—the Days of the Dead—that draws several thousand people from across the San Francisco Bay Area. Now, after ten years, it is a nationally acclaimed event, a tradition preserved and adapted to new surroundings. Artists and community groups create colorful ofrendas (altars) to commemorate the dead, ranging from whimsical to political to heartbreakingly personal, and musicians and performers lead a procession with costumed calaveras (skeletons), sacred copal smoke, and the ever-present cempoalxochitl (marigold) and pan de muerto (bread of the dead).
In side-by-side Spanish and English text, El Corazón de la Muerte offers readers a look inside ancient rituals and new expressions reclaiming the tradition in contemporary times, featuring dazzling full-color photographs of the altars and of the celebrations themselves. With reverence and humor, festivity and loss, this book of art exemplifies the very traditions it chronicles.
The Oakland Museum of California is one of the country’s finest regional museums and the only one devoted entirely to the art, history, and natural sciences of California. The museum is housed in an architecturally renowned three-tiered complex of galleries and gardens on the south shore of Lake Merritt, in downtown Oakland.