28 October 2018

Dia de Los Muertos: Day of The Dead Where Contrasts Converge

Here in the City of Mesa, Arizona - the most conservative city in the United States - there's a two-day festival at Mesa Arts Center commemorating the centuries-old traditions in Mexico that are celebrated by millions. In the same city that gave us anti-immigration Russell Pearce and SB1070 and The Greatest Sheriff-in-The-West Joe Arpaio's racial profiling, apprehensions and illegal crackdowns on immigrants, we take the to honor and to celebrate (at least once a year) our shared heritage and cultures. 
That point was brought home early this morning to capture this larger-than-life exalted aerosol-image of Desert Rose that hovers over the colorful festival and this vendor display of some artesanias [hand-crafted "folk arts" Hecho en Mexico]. 
The composed image is a immigrant from Central America - a story that's very much in the news these days where migrants are now cast as invaders, criminals and rapists moving in a caravan to cross over our southern border where 800 weaponized troops are being sent to stop more immigrants.
Here's a post about Desert Rose published on this blog a couple of years ago:
02 May 2016
New Series: Inter-Active Public Art #3

Yes, it's probably the biggest monumental-sized installation to date here in The New Urban Downtown Mesa at the City-owned Arts-and-Entertainment venue and international design award-winning Mesa Arts Center. Inspiring? . . . yes.
"Desert Rose” by El Mac takes its public space to new heights in the heart and central core of our vibrant regeneration of Creative Place Making. It is highly visible [rising more than 70 feet] starting below eye level from a distance where you are attracted to approach the artwork.
It's an optical beauty for sure: a woman with a rose at first impact is what you see, but what's the story in the creation of this huge artpiece on what used to be an empty wall? [see work-in-progress @ right]
Ever wonder about that when you might just pass it by?
"Desert Rose" was commissioned by the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
The artist is called El Mac.
Here's the the story published today in Street Art News.
The image is based on his photos of Karen Bracamonte, an immigrant from Guatemala who is married to one of his friends.
At the time of the reference shoot Karen was roughly seven months pregnant, so in a way, this painting depicts not only her but his soon-to-be godson.
As usual with the American street artist, he delivers an outstanding piece of work using his unique technique.

What's that unique technique? . . . go see Desert Rose in-person or you can read and see more here 
22 June 2018
A Zinger For Zarco > ReGenerating A Lost Legacy In Our Rich Cultural Heritage
Up early as usual before sunrise to find this surprise image of "Proceso de Los Abuelos" created by native-born Zarco Guerrero whose family-roots here in the territory of Arizona go back for centuries before the arrival of The Pioneers in the mid-19th Century. . .It's a reminder that we have more than one predominant culture here in Mesa where the lost legacy of our rich cultural heritage is brought back-to-life every now and then by The Cultural Coalition and other groups with sounds-and-sights in public performances.  
Pop-Up event > a live-performance of "Street Theater"
Our current urban fabric is incomplete.

Downtown Mesa is the only part of the metro area that has its shit together.
These following words are taken from https://medium.com/@The_AZ_Urbanist
"I’ll say it point-blank:
Picket-fence and grass lawn suburban sprawl favored by anti-urbanists is a Midwest middle-class fantasy, and should never have been spread across West of the Rocky Mountains. This desert that was never intended to support the kind of water usage, or the demographic homogeneity required to maintain such colonial wet dreams.
While Portland-obsessed urbanists and their imaginations for the future of Phoenix are admittedly terrible, most Phoenix anti-urbanists don’t even see Brown people as human, and think that God “will give us water if we pray hard enough”. Most conservatives in the burbs crave a metro area with no public housing, and no buildings taller than two stories. Their vision is broken and we must look beyond it. Reinforcing the multicultural identity of a Phoenix with density, good streets, and more things to do is critical. We are sitting in a hostile urban environment that will only worsen if action is not taken. Bland, distasteful office parks, meandering suburban streets, strip malls, and apartment complexes that face parking lots dominate the landscape. . ."
Mesa Arts Center Courtyard, a prime example of Arizona architecture
Blogger Note: That's an Aerosol Exalted mural titled "Desert Rose" . . . readers of this blog can find the story in the art by using the SEARCH BOX on this site.
The subject is a friend of the artist, a pregnant immigrant arriving here for asylum.
". . . On top of that, Phoenix lacks a lot of defining places for all kinds of people to come together and share experiences. Our urban village model is a wreck, with most of the supposed “cores” are nothing more than glorified strip malls and maybe a post office. It’s embarrassing. The few great spaces here in Phoenix have a tendency to be evicted after a while(Phoenix Renews community garden, Carnegie Library), which makes things worse. This lack of a citywide identity or community pride has eroded our civic responsibility, and empathy for one another. Creating good, central public spaces is a core tenet of urbanism, and sorely needed in the Valley. Some ideas I will be talking about in depth later include livening up Central Station (not Union Station), bringing back Phoenix Renews in a central location, and capitalizing on building public courtyards and pools as our version of floor-area-bonuses.
Perhaps most importantly of all, we have to urbanize because we deserve a better built environment to spend our youth, raise our families, and grow old in."

Next time: The Tools We Have To Fix It.
23 May 2016
MesaZona POV: An Artist With A Social Conscience
Your MesaZona watched in real time over the course of days unidentified figures using a hydraulic lift and scaffolding to scale the heights of a 35-foot high blank concrete wall at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
What appeared is titled "Desert Rose: New Generations".
It's a beautiful eye-catching work of public art in the Creative Place Making urban landscape here downtown.
Temporary banners were previously used to announce exhibitions @ MCAM. This one looks permanent.
It is a commissioned exterior work and part of one of the four inside gallery exhibition spaces that opened to the public on Friday, May 13, 2016.
It's one thing just looking at art and passing by, but when we have the opportunity to meet and interact with a world-renowned artist here in The New Urban DTMesa that certainly "makes my day" happy to live downtown one block away from the Mesa Arts Center. Admittedly, the close proximity to an urban airspace is one consideration to have made the decision to live here.
More than 30 years ago [gosh, is yours truly dating himself?], spray-paint graffiti was considered vandalism and cracked-down on in New York City - it appeared everywhere spontaneously all over - on the sides of drab gray underground subway cars and above ground on public buildings next to empty unused lots and in densely-populated neighborhoods, low-income and high-income. There were campaigns to remove "graffiti", cans of spray paint were locked up behind closed doors, graffiti artists who "made their mark" were hunted down and arrested, until artists who emerged in the public eye became very popular and famous - there was no stopping them from expressing themselves with vibrant colors, images boundless and unrestrained right in-your-face wherever you went in New York City.
Yours truly had the pleasure to know more than a few now-called "aerosol artists" way back when art took a quantum leap rocking what was the art establishment.
Here on the scene in Mesa thirty years later, the artist known as "El Mac" made a huge public impression for sure.
On a personal level, he is one of the most humble and sublime major art figures yours truly has ever met.
At the opening reception ten days ago a friend of his who's a photographer told me he's a hermit, disappearing for days to create works-in-progress. That may be the case for an artist to make his personal space his own in act of creating art, but in public he doesn't hesitate to engage people in soft-spoken conversations when they want to meet him. Likewise with the many children who wanted to know more.
11 Killed in Hate-Crime Horror at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pennsylvania
Let's skip that  . . . except to say we abhor and condemn crimes like this


In Mexico City there's a different story from Global News in Canada:
Published on Oct 28, 2018

Thousands of spectators flooded the streets of Mexico City on Saturday to watch the annual parade celebrating the Day of the Dead, which this year paid tribute to migrants who've lost their lives.
On the Day of the Dead, families gather at the graves of departed loved ones to celebrate their lives

There are more reports from all the world:
Story image for dia de los muertos 2018, mexico city from DunyaNews Pakistan

DunyaNews Pakistan-4 hours ago

(Web Desk) - Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Mexico City to celebrate Dia de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead. According to details, Mexicans ...

Story image for dia de los muertos 2018, mexico city from Yucatán Expat Life
Yucatán Expat Life-6 hours ago
A woman has her body painted before the Day of the Dead parade on Reforma Avenue in Mexico City, Saturday Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Christian Palma).
Story image for dia de los muertos 2018, mexico city from Channel NewsAsia
Channel NewsAsia-7 hours ago
MEXICO CITY: Mexico City dedicated its Day of the Dead parade on ... the country have contributed to a true 'Refuge City,'" the Mexico City government said on ...
Story image for dia de los muertos 2018, mexico city from Voice of America
Voice of America-9 hours ago
Mexico City dedicated its Day of the Dead parade Saturday to migrants, just as thousands of Central Americans were trekking from the country's southern border ...

From BBC
In pictures: Mexico City's Day of the Dead parade
"This year the parade was themed around migration. . .The city's government dedicated the parade to migrants who have lost their lives in transit, at a time when thousands from across Central America are currently travelling in a caravan through the country.
The parade acknowledged the region's past, including Aztec traditions like human sacrifice, and the migration routes of the early inhabitants of Central America.
Significant Mexican cultural figures, including singer Chavela Vargas and artist Frida Kahlo, were also honoured at the event.

Organisers were expecting thousands of spectators at the event, which also had live music, artists and jugglers taking part. . . "
Mexico City comes alive with Day of the Dead parade 

3 hours ago

Fused with the Catholic festivals of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, the Day of the Dead is one of the most deep-rooted traditions in Mexico, celebrated by millions of people from Mayan Indians in the tropical south to urban professionals in Mexico City.
Drawing on beliefs that the dead can return from the underworld, the celebrations officially begin on November 1 with the Day of the Innocents to honour departed children and ends with the Day of the Dead on November 2 for adults.
As tradition goes, families at home put up altars dedicated to loved ones who have passed. They are decorated with flowers as well as objects such as sweets and tequila.

Trading Places: How Did Mesa Manage To Stay Out-of-The-Spotlight For Office-Involved Excessive Use-of-Force??

Another incidence of SWAT Team training tactics for our misguided "Civilian Warriors". This time in Phoenix and three years later...

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