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Lesson Plans

The Mexican Days of the Dead - long post

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Nancy Walkup (walkup)
Mon, 1 Sep 1997 10:13:58 CST6CDT

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Even though school is just starting, I'm beginning to think
about the Mexican Days of the Dead in November (1st and 2nd) and
would like to enlist your help. I'm giving a presentation at our fall
conference (in Texas) on "Artist Ofrendas." The idea comes from
the meaning of the Mexican Days of the Dead, the most important
day of celebration in Mexico. Families build altars called ofrendas to
welcome and remember with love the souls of the dead. Because of the
name of this celebration, it is often misunderstood in the
United States. It unfortunately falls near our Halloween.

I believe creating artist ofrendas offers a way to teach about the Days of
the Dead by secularizing the idea of the ofrenda. One of our
teachers used this approach last year to have her students
create memorials to a number of artists - including all kinds of
things related to the artist and his or her artwork. Several
years ago the Dallas Museum of Art created a huge ofrenda to
Picasso and I have seen another done for Frida Kahlo.

If any of you are interested in trying this in your classroom
and sharing the results with me through slides, I will include
your students' work in my presentation (and can put it on our
web site if you like). If you are interested in participating,
let me know and I will send you some background information
about the Days of the Dead (you can also find it on our web
site: Look for Latino Art &
Culture under Art Curriculum. If you would like me to mail the
info to you, please include your snail mail address.



Nancy Walkup, Project Coordinator
North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts
PO Box 305100, University of North Texas
Denton, TX 76203
940/565-3986 FAX 940/565-4867

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