Now in its 17th year, the annual Day of the Dead exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center offers one of the most internationally diverse Día de los Muertos celebrations in the United States. Merging traditional Mexican altars with contemporary art installations, the exhibition presents a superabundant array of perspectives remembering, honoring, and celebrating the dead. Inspired by cherished relationships, current events, and personal and collective histories, more than 25 altars by over 50 participating Día de los Muertos artists build a dense environment of creativity that creates space for meaningful reflection and community engagement.
The exhibition unveiling, Friday, October 7, 6–9pm, $12–15 sliding scale admission, features music by Puerto Rican funk, rock and reggae band Manicato, comedy and spoken word by Baruch Porras-Hernandez with musical accompaniment by Azuah, and other special guests. The opening reception festivities with be hosted by Melorra Green, co-curator of The Black Woman is God. Advance tickets are strongly encouraged.
Founded in SF’s Mission district in 2004 by Israel Matos, Manicato combines its social and musical influences into hard-hitting intelligent dance music that feeds both body and mind. The word Manicato, derived from the Native people of Puerto Rico known as the Taino, means a bold and valiant person of a good heart. The band Manicato lives up to this Taino ideal with its socially conscious lyrics backed by a mixture of Salsa, Timba, Reggae, Hip Hop, and Rock . Featuring one of the only father and son vocal sections in San Francisco, Manicato’s driving horn lines and rhythm section will have you dancing all night long.
Baruch Porras-Hernandez is a writer, performer, organizer, visual artist, and storyteller based in San Francisco. He has performed in L.A., Washington D.C., NYC, Canada, and throughout California. His writing has been published in numerous anthologies, he is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry, he regularly organizes poetry shows in the Bay Area, and is currently the curator and head organizer for The San Francisco Queer Open Mic and Program Director for ¿Donde Está Mi Gente?. He was born in Toluca, Mexico and grew up in Albany, California.
For the exhibition unveiling, Porras-Hernandez will debut his piece, “My Last Day of the Dead.” Blending spoken word poetry and stand-up comedy, Porras-Hernandez will invite audience members to consider the significance of Día de los Muertos.
A Promise Not to Forget: Día de los Muertos Exhibition
On view Friday, October 7–Saturday, November 5, 2016
Extended gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm, Saturday 11am–5pm & Sunday 11am–3pm
Día de los Muertos Interactive Drawing Circle
Facilitated by artist and curator René Yañez
Friday, October 21, 7–9:30pm
$10 admission; No one turned away for lack of funds
Interact with this meaningful exhibition by creating your own visual art, facilitated by legendary Mission District artist and activist René Yañez.
Saturday, November 5, 6–9pm
$7–10 sliding scale admission
The final opportunity to view and interact with the altars features live music and interactive installations.
Special thanks to Lagunitas Brewing Company, whose generous donations help SOMArts in cultivating access to the arts and engaging the power of the arts to provoke just and fair inclusion, cultural respect, and civic participation.
Image credits (from top to bottom): Jadelynn Stahl, photo by Rio Yañez. Makeup by Martinez; Manicato, Image courtesy of the band; Baruch Porras-Hernandez, photo by Mark McBeth. Makeup by Carrie Gocker.