Dia De Los Muertos Festival

Anabelle Rositas, Writer/Photographer

The fourth annual Dia De Los Muertos festival took place at the Downey Civic Center on Oct. 30. The festival celebrated a popular Mexican tradition of honoring and remembering family and friends who have passed away.

Local and regional artists came together to display pieces of their artwork that depict what the holiday means to them and what it might mean for other people.

One artist, Martin Sanchez, a well-known Southern Californian sculptor, was introduced as the star attraction of the festival. He uses everyday forgotten materials, such as bottle caps, cans, metal shards and more to build sculptures that tower over their audience.

Joshua Lira, after being brought to the festival by his older brother, saw and commented on the sculpture.

“It’s cool,” Lira said. “I like how he was with so creative with the simple ideas.”

Lira went on to comment about how much he enjoyed the festival and was glad that his brother took him. He originally did not want to attend the celebration, but his brother reminded him of the importance of the day for him and his family.

As the celebration continued, the doors opened to the theatre and people were allowed upstairs for the art display. A variety of artwork from local and regional artists were set up on the walls of the theatre. Locals visited the artwork and some even stayed to discuss a deeper meaning of these pieces.

Gabriela Perez visited the art gallery on the second floor of the theatre and from the moment she stepped in the room, the artwork caught her attention.

“To me, seeing this type of art is nice and relieving,” Perez said. “For once, it’s really great to have my culture represented.”

One artist, Maricela Aviña, decided to set up a booth to advertise and sell her artwork to the locals visiting the festival. Aviña is a self-taught painter who featured a variety of Day of The Dead portraits.

“I love my culture, Mexicana-Latina,” Avina stated. “I think it’s just a beautiful way of expressing death, love, and beauty all at the same time.”

Día De Los Muertos is a meaningful celebration and the artists featured at this celebration only show a glimpse of how loved this holiday really is. This festival was a day to remember and Downey citizens are already looking forward to next year’s Dia De Los Muertos Festival.