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Día de los Muertos with Madeleine Stamer!

by Jenny Butler
Monday 31st October 2011

This week we have the gorgeous Madeleine Stamer on the Guest Blog! Maddi has been a long time favourite of both Lucy and I and we are so excited that she is here to share her love for Mexican culture and arts by focusing on Día de los Muertos celebrations (aka Day of the Dead). It’s going to be a truly fantastic week- be sure to visit Maddi’s website for more of her amazing work here. – Jenny x

Hola, hello I’m super excited to be guest blogging on The Design Files and I’m looking forward to sharing with you my passion for all things Mexicana throughout this week of Día de los Muertos celebrations.

For the uninitiated, Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a Mexican indigenous tradition tweaked with Catholicism beliefs. Dia de los Angelitos is commemorated on November 1 coinciding with All Saint’s Day when the souls of children return to visit their familes. Dia de los Muertos falls on November 2 (All Souls’ Day) when los muertos grandes, the adults temporarily return and join the celebrations.

Illustration by José Guadalupe Posada

Dealing with the intricacies of death is tricky in anyone’s language. I’m certainly no authority on the subject but like others I too have experienced the death of someone near and dear. I have utmost respect for Mexican sensibilities and their celebratory grieving process. A lot of imagery in my art derives from Mexican folklore and I’m very grateful for the endless source of visual delight that has helped me deal with the fragility of life and death.

To the Western eye explosive visions of rainbow coloured sugar skulls and cheeky skeletons engaged in ritualistic play may appear slightly irreverent and a little hard to digest. What may appear surreal and seemingly morbid to some is a deeply spiritual and cathartic process for others. Don’t get it confused with the modern day horror of Halloween people, The Day of the Dead is a vibrant and joyous occasion, injected with gentle humour and friendly expression in honour of our dearly departed and ancestors. Spice up the grieving pot with a pinch of colour, laughter, singing, eating and dancing!

The beautiful Frida Kahlo

If I had a handful of wishes I’d opt to travel back in time and celebrate Día de los Muertos in the heart of Mexico with my lady friend Frida, we would have a great time with flowers in our hair.

Let the celebrations begin!

Madeleine x


by Jenny Butler
Monday 31st October 2011

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