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Altar offers tribute to dead

POSTED AT 11:08 PM ON Oct. 22, 2013  (UPDATED AT 11:40 PM ON Oct. 22, 2013)

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A dog bone, a bottle of tequila, a pack of cigarettes and CDs are scattered over an altar in the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

They’re only a few of the offerings and gifts left at a Dia de los Muertos shrine at the museum, where everyone is invited to give tribute to the dead.

“During the holiday it is customary to leave notes or small offerings of items the deceased would have enjoyed during their lifetime, to nurture memories of the dead,” Assistant Director Judith Kirk said in a press release.

Day of the Dead is Nov. 1 and 2, but the altar was built ahead of time to collect as many offerings as possible in time for the holiday.

Curated by Rachel Digregorio and Michael Redman, the altar is built from artifacts that were offered to last year’s version.

Obituaries for famous Hoosiers like Julia Carson and Kurt Vonnegut were stapled to tablecloths, but the cluster of tables were adorned with piles of memento moris of all kinds of loved ones.

“To everyone I’ve ever loved — living and dead: I’m sorry,” a note read. It was tucked between a candle, a skull and a black and white photograph of a woman.

A can of chewing tobacco sits on top of a book. String lights and beads are tangled around a mess of picture frames.

People are encouraged to bring their own letters, notes and items to leave on the table. Everything collected will be resurrected with next year’s celebration.

On Nov. 1, the closing of the community altar will feature “En Calavera: Conversations with the Dead,” a storytelling presentation presented by students from La Casa Latino Cultural Center.

— Ashley Jenkins

 

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