Mexican culture and tradition sweeps John M. Pfau Library off its feet for the Dia de Los Muertos holiday.
Pfau Library’s noontime lecture honored Mexican heritage this past week by hosting two events demonstrating Hispanic art, music and cultural tradition.
The first event, “Celebramos A Mexico” was hosted by professional artist Nancy Nieto on Oct. 28 from 12 to 1 p.m. to explore the many aspects important to the Mexican heritage like art and music.
Nieto graduated from UCSB with an art degree in drawing and painting.
She lived in Mexico City for over 20 years which influenced her artwork with Mexican/Aztec heritage, revolutionary figures and famous artists such as Frida Kahlo.
“One of the most important things I believe we can do for ourselves is find that creative impulse deep down inside of us,” said Neito. “It’s important to open your soul to the creative forces within you.”
The lecture combined Nieto’s understanding and knowledge of art as a professional painter, with a live Mexican guitarist and vocal performances by Martin and Guillermo Najera.
After Nieto’s lecture on the importance and influence behind some of her artwork, the Najera brothers lit up the lecture room with traditional Mexican music.
“The mixing of the two, the music and art combined made it very enjoyable,” said attendee Barbara Sokoloff.
Nieto’s artwork was on display throughout the first floor of the Pfau Library for all to see.
The paintings consisted of the great Frida Kahlo, as well as revolutionary figures such as Zapata, Morelos, Adelita and Aztec/Mayan animals such as horses, bulls and cats.
The second event, “Dia de Los Muertos” was held on Oct. 29 from 2 to 3 p.m. Professor Dr. Elsa Valdez, hosted the event and shared the origins and cultural significance of Dia de los Muertos Day of the Dead.
This traditional Mexican holiday is dedicated to ancestors, as well as honoring both the cycle of life and death. The day is spent in celebration remembering those who have passed before us.
Professor Valdez is the coordinator for the Ethnic Studies Minor Program, and works in the sociology department on campus.
Her areas of research and teaching cover various subjects involving Latino/Chicano studies, social inequality and race and ethnic relations.
The event combined both a lecture from Professor Valdez as well as an informational video about Dia de Los Muertos.
Day of the Dead has become one of the most celebrated holidays of the year for Latinos, in both Mexico and more recently in the United States.
For the first three years after death, altars are built as an offering, traditionally including the four main elements of nature: Earth, wind, water and fire.
Items such as skulls, fruits, “Pan de Muerto” or bread of the dead, and orange Marigold flowers are common offerings to the deceased.
Events like these help educate the community about different cultures, traditions and ethnicities.
Students should keep an eye out for more events put on by Pfau Library.