In celebration of Mexico’s rich and cultural history, the Embassy of Mexico (UK) has partnered with Jose Cuervo, the world’s oldest tequila brand and Arte Mexico to bring the 3000 year old Mexican celebration to life with The Day Of The Dead Festival 2014 at The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower from 30th October to 2nd November. The exhibition will present recent works from a host of contemporary artists, each with associated Day of the Dead themes, including work by the renowned Chapman Brothers. There will also be a special WWI commemoration on display, in the form of a special commission traditional altar honouring and commemorating the lives of those who died during the Great War. The festival will also include Jose Cuervo master classes, a variety of children’s arts and crafts workshops, and a screening of The Day of the Dead 1984 cinema classic, “Under the Volcano”.
With support from the Arts Council, recent works from a host of contemporary artists including The Chapman Brothers, Graciela Iturbide, Jordan Baseman, The Drawing Exchange, James Ostrer, Juan Jose Rivas & Johnnie Shand Kydd will be showcased in a pop-up exhibition. There will also be the newly commissioned traditional Mexican Day of the Dead Altar by master folk artist Rodolfo Villena Hernandez, from the state of Puebla in Mexico, on display. The Mexican Day of the Dead Altar is dedicated to the Unknown Soldier of World War One, created as part of the Great War’s 100-year anniversary. The Altar will not only feature Mexican Cartoneria (paper-mache) techniques but prized objects including daily icons used to represent the life of those who served in WWI. Archive material from the Great War will also accompany the Altar, which has been generously provided by the Imperial War Museum, London.
Arte Mexico will be presenting a contemporary Mexican Art exhibition, highlighting traditions as a prolific element in the development of art in Mexico. This will be curated by Javier Calderon and will showcase works by Luis Felipe Ortega, Tania Candiani, Mario de Vega, Hector Falcon, Guillermo R. Gudiño, Mariana Magdaleno and Isaac Olvera, who is currently doing a residency at Gasworks, London.
The Day of the Dead Festival 2014 will also feature the cinema classic “Under the Volcano”, directed by John Huston in 1984 and based on the 1947 novel. A panel discussion and special screening will take place on 31st October.
Jose Cuervo bars will be installed throughout The Bargehouse, serving the brand’s seasonal margaritas, including the all-new Jose Cuervo Autumnal Tradicional Sour, which is made with figs, lemon and egg white. Jose Cuervo will also be hosting tequila master classes at the Oxo Tower with brand ambassador, Gabriela Moncada. Gabriela will guide guests through the rich history of the Jose Cuervo brand and educate them on the crafting process, as well as giving them the chance to taste the brand’s different tequilas. Reserva de la Familia, Jose Cuervo’s finest tequila, has a longstanding connection with art, having collaborated with a different Mexican artist every year to create limited-edition packaging. For The Day of the Dead Festival 2014, Jose Cuervo will be bringing all of the collaborations — stemming back to 1995 — from Mexico to the Oxo Tower for a special one-off showcase.
A wide variety of daily children's arts and crafts workshops will centre themselves around The Day of the Dead’s heritage. These include classic sugar candy skull decoration, skeleton making, mask painting, flower creation, ‘papel picado’ accessories design and Styrofoam Skull decoration, all of which are free of charge (pre-registration details below).
Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is a national holiday in Mexico celebrating and honouring family members and loved ones who have died.