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Arts & Life


Day of the Dead Show at Guardino Gallery

Chairs by Scot Cameron Bell with paintings by Richard Cushall in background

KC Cowan / OPB

Halloween may be a favorite holiday, but the Day of the Dead on November 1st and 2nd is getting more attention each year in the arts community. At NE Portland’s Guardino Gallery, the 5th annual Day of the Dead group show is well worth a visit.

Curated by artist Stephanie Brockway, the show has work by 22 artists, each with their own unique take on the Mexican celebration, which focuses on family gatherings to remember and pray for friends and relatives who have died. Traditionally, celebrants build private altars using sugar skulls, marigolds and other decorations to honor the deceased.

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Guardino Gallery: The 5th Annual Day of the Dead Show

Skulls and crosses abound at the Guardino Gallery show, as do images of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. But there are also more modern tributes, including the Amy Winehouse Retablo, paying homage to the recently deceased singer.

One of the most impressive pieces is a public altar by Stephanie Brockway titled “Oaxaca Altar.” It invites you to write a message to a deceased loved one on a slip of paper and pin it inside.

There are paintings, works in ceramic, mixed media and encaustic in the show. Some are whimsical and others just slightly gruesome, but all of them have a strong and obvious tie to the idea of death. There’s even a “Nightmare Catcher” instead of the traditional “dream catcher.”

Several Oregon Art Beat alums have work in the show: Gene Flores, Kim Murton, Lisa Kaser and Ron Rogers are all exhibiting work, and overall the art is quite affordable, ranging from the low to upper hundreds of dollars. However, you can also pick up both a handmade skull head pin for or skull head magnet for under $20.

Although the pieces were created for the Day of the Dead show, they’re not so tied in with the holiday that you could only display them each November. The artists have all taken the idea of the ancient ritual and realized it in a contemporary fashion for art lovers to admire and appreciate year ‘round.

The show is up through November 20th at the Guardino Gallery, 2939 NE Alberta St., Portland.


View Slideshow

Click on “View Gallery” in the right sidebar to see some of the works of art featured in the Guardino Gallery’s Day of the Dead Show.

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