Oaxacan Sand Painters Celebrate Día de los Muertos in SA

Over the past several decades, Día de los Muertos — traditionally a holiday celebrated in Mexico — has integrated into San Antonio culture with flying colors. Among the holiday's lesser-known practices is Oaxacan "sand painting" — an art form incorporating stencils, colored powder or bas-relief techniques to produce large-scale, three-dimensional images.

Collaborating with Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec artists (including Olegario Hernández Mendoza, Saul Castro, Alejandro Martinez and Francisco Leonel López Villegas), UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures will be showcasing a display of Oaxacan-style sand painting in observance of Día de los Muertos. Beginning Saturday, ITC guests can witness the sculpting of sand pieces reflecting the attributes associated with the holiday — such as skulls and skeletons — along with indigenous imagery drawn from the Aztec pantheon. These unique sand sculptures have rarely been seen in the US and this site-specific installation presents a unique — yet limited — viewing experience.

Setup begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sat, Oct. 31, and the finished piece could take up to nine hours to complete. The ITC's senior communications specialist James Benavides suggested 2-3 p.m. as a good time to "catch things taking shape." The piece will remain in place through Nov. 8, which coincides with the museum's Free Second Sunday series.

$6-$8, 9am-5pm Mon-Sat, noon-5pm Sun, Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César Chávez Blvd., (210) 458-2300, texancultures.com.

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