Sunday, 15 November 2009

Long Black Limousine (part 1): Dia de los Muertos

November 1st Todos Los Santos/All Saints Day
At the British Museum in London. Latin madness including mariachi musicians, Mexican food, papier mâché altar offerings, dancing skeletons, crystal skulls...

In the shop, little retablo boxes were doing a roaring trade. Tiny boxes of clay, wood and papier mâché with little models inside them - domestic scenes, religious scenes, historical scenes. Retablo boxes arrived in South America from Spain as small portable wooden religious altars used to instruct. They took on a new form: florally decorated boxes with animated figures inside that incorporated indigenous beliefs but also reflected local, everyday life, and a more diverse view of death. In amongst the little collection in the Museum shop, the King. Elvis as the incomprehensible, veneratable dead. Elvis católico. Snake-hipped Elvis in the skeleton dance.

Elvis' death and the material and beliefs that have become attached to it is going to be a recurrent theme I think.    Thanks: Freeo.  

1 comment:

Lin the Finn said...

Love it. Dead Mexican Elvis... do you think it's because he's easy to recognise with the quiff and guitar, even when dead? Or because he's dead famous? Could they make a Dia de los Muertos Mother Teresa? Lady Di? JP 2? Marilyn? Tricky.