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Photos by Ruben Cordova

ITC photo exhibit examines Dia de los Muertos

(Oct. 10, 2006)--UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures will host the photo exhibit, "The Changing Identity of el Dia de los Muertos Revealed in Photography and Muralism" through Nov. 12 in the ITC lower gallery

El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a blend of indigenous and Spanish colonial religious beliefs and practices that have been impacted by the celebration of Halloween in Mexico and Chicano communities in the United States.

The photo exhibit, curated by ITC educational specialist Patricia Dunn, offers a revealing look at the contemporary interactions between Dia de los Muertos and Halloween.

Ruben Cordova, UTSA assistant professor of art and art history, took the 33 photographs that focus on different aspects of Dia de los Muertos, including Spanish and Aztec sources for the holiday. The emphasis of the exhibition is contemporary practices in and around Mexico City, many of which are secular.

Day of the Dead is one of Mexico's most famous and internationally admired festivals. "It has come to stand for a variety of commemorations associated with the Roman Catholic All Saints' Day [Nov. 1] and All Souls' Day [Nov. 2]," said Cordova. "Many activities that take place during Day of the Dead are standard Catholic practices, but some survive from pre-Hispanic times. Others are folk elaborations, urban inventions and influences from outside Mexico. Thus, Day of the Dead is a constantly evolving synthesis or mestizaje of cultures."

"UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures is a gathering place for cultural understanding," said John Davis, executive director of the museum. "Put simply, these pictures tell a story that will enlighten and inform guests who wish to explore the cultural significance of these time-honored traditions."

"The Changing Identity of el Dia de los Muertos Revealed in Photography and Muralism" is an official exhibit of the FOTOSEPTIEMBRE USA International Photography Festival.

UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures is San Antonio's cultural-experience museum. Established as the Texas State Exhibits Building for HemisFair in 1968 and later designated as a UTSA campus, the museum has spent nearly 40 years telling the stories of Texas's diverse citizens and inviting guests to join in the celebration of Texas's multicultural heritage.

Home to the Texas Folklife Festival, Asian Festival and six other cultural events, UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures seeks to educate, inform and inspire those who aspire to a greater understanding of the influence of multiculturalism in the Lone Star State. The museum is closed Mondays.

For more information, call (210) 458-2330 or e-mail Patricia Dunn.

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