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SOMArts Cultural Center Presents ILLUMINATIONS: DIA DE LOS MUERTOS 2011

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San Francisco, CA –– El Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, provides a way for people to embrace the beauty of life and to honor the spirits of the dead. Intricate, traditional altars and complex art installations are on display in Illuminations: Dia de los Muertos 2011 at SOMArts Cultural Center. The exhibition is open from Saturday, October 8 through Saturday, November 5 at SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco.

The theme “Illuminations” was chosen by curators René and Rio Yañez to symbolize a source of light for spiritual and intellectual reflection. This year’s exhibition is dedicated to community pillar and Mission District business owner Marta Sanchez and renowned artist Pablo Picasso. Each year, more than 80 Bay Area artists from a breadth of cultural backgrounds participate, examining local issues and global disasters such as 2011’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan. The 30+ altars and installations range from deeply personal to political and many invite contribution or interaction from the viewer.

“Illuminations presents the old and the new side by side,” says curator René Yañez. “Traditional folk art altars will appear alongside high-tech, experimental installations using 3-D images and projections.”

Highlights of Illuminations include local artists Susana Aragon, Adrian Arias, Carla Oden, and Elizabeth Addison’s multimedia installations, which utilize the theme by incorporating light and projections in unique environmental spaces. Longtime contributing artist Victor Mario Zaballa will present a traditional Mexican Day of the Dead altar. Architect Nick Gomez will create a material aesthetic and layout for the installations, inspired by the theme.

“We continue to examine the ways technology shapes how we celebrate Day of the Dead. Once again, our Flickr group enables us to accept digital photos as offerings to those who people want to honor,” says curator Rio Yañez. The public can upload their digital contributions to <> . Selected images will be printed and displayed as part of the exhibit.

Illuminations also features a collaboration with actor and visual artist Herbert Siguenza of Culture Clash fame. Siguenza has been touring the U.S. in a one-person show called “A Weekend with Pablo Picasso.” In addition to contributing an altar, Siguenza will perform and paint as Picasso during the opening reception on Friday October 7, 2011.

This year’s Day of the Dead exhibition is supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Arts and Education Program, by the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, and by The San Francisco Foundation, who have generously provided funding.


What: Illuminations: Día de los Muertos 2011

Where: SOMArts Cultural Center Bay Gallery

934 Brannan Street (between 8th and 9th Streets)

San Francisco, CA 94103

When: October 8 – November 5

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 12 – 7PM, Saturday 12 – 5PM

Closing Reception: Saturday, November 5, 6pm – 9pm.

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