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Altar for the Day of the Dead: Art Mediator Maria Ezcurra interviewed by Radio-Canada International

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Published: 3Nov2016

Visit RCInet.caSpanish-language reporter Pablo Gómez Barrios interviewed Art Mediator Maria Ezcurra this week regarding the Faculty of Education's Altar for the Day of the Dead. The Altar for the Day of the Dead, constructed to honour the lives of the missing and murdered Indigenous women of Canada, has been displayed in the lobby of the Education building this week.

[Please click here to read the article and listen to the interview with Radio-Canada International (Spanish language), "Altar para el día de los Muertos en la Universidad McGill de Montreal"]

The altar's creation was a collaborative effort between Ezcurra, Artist-in-Resident Lori Beavis, and a collective of Mexican Women artists including Nuria Carton de Grammont, Carmen Giménez-Cacho, Nancy Guevara, Flavia Hevia, Daniela Ortiz and Amanda Ruiz.

The Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) is a festive and sacred time in Mexico and other Latin American countries. This day, the souls of the dead are welcomed back, joined with the living and becoming a celebration of life. Significant objects are placed as gifts to the visiting souls in ofrendas: the altars for the children are set on the eve of October 31st with sweets, fruits and white flowers, while the eve of November 1st is the time to honor the adults with cempasúchil (marigold flower), spicy food, alcoholic drinks and cigarettes. Although many elements of Catholicism were incorporated into the ofrenda after the Spanish conquest, it is considered mostly an Indigenous tradition.

"As a group women artists," Ezcurra wrote in a statement describing the altar, "we want to offer this ofrenda to the hundreds of Indigenous women and girls that have been murdered in Canada, and the rest of the continent, over the past decades. We are also considering the many missing women in this altar, which purpose is remembrance: we acknowledge that not being physically present isn’t the same as being gone.

"With this ofrenda installed at the Faculty of Education, we want to acknowledge the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka people where we stand today, celebrating our ancestors and sharing diverse Indigenous culture with the community of McGill (the altar will have elements from Indigenous communities from both Mexico and Canada). Moreover, we want to honour the lives of all the Indigenous women and girls that have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada as a way to bring awareness to the widespread violence against Indigenous women and girls, and gender-based violence in general."

[Please click here to read the article and listen to the interview with Radio-Canada International (Spanish language), "Altar para el día de los Muertos en la Universidad McGill de Montreal"]

 

Altar con las fotos de las mujeres y adolescentes indígenas canadienses asesinadas y desaparecidas.

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