SOMArts’ annual Día de Los Muertos exhibition, beginning in mid-October and concluding around the time of the holiday itself, is a long-standing and beloved San Francisco tradition. Originated by visionary community artist and activist René Yañez, this exhibition honors René’s legacy as his son and curator Rio Yañez continues to illuminate the connection between the personal and the political through Day of the Dead.

Día de Los Muertos is a celebration that is continually in transition, as curator Rio Yañez encourages artists to extend beyond the traditional altar in order to look at personal loss, as well as local and global issues. In past years artists have created installations about contemporary issues including health care, the presidential election, gentrification and displacement, police brutality and immigration.

SOMArts welcomes over 600 Bay Area students to learn about the traditional and contemporary celebrations of Día de Los Muertos. In addition to a docent tour of the gallery exhibition, students have the opportunity to create their own artwork in response to the themes of the exhibition.

Past Día de Los Muertos exhibitions include:

  • Living Legacies: Día de Los Muertos 2020
  • Day of the Dead 2015
Dreams Emerging, Beyond Resilience:
Día de Los Muertos 2021

October 9–November 5, 2021

Curated by Rio Yanez and Carolina Quintanilla, Dreams Emerging, Beyond Resilience: Dia de Los Muertos 2021 can be viewed in person Saturday, October 9–Friday, November 5 with the Virtual Gallery launching Saturday, October 9. Artists honor how grieving rituals have shifted in response to the global pandemic. The exhibition reflects on how the past year has transformed our visions of connection, freedom, and healing. After a year of collective isolation and survival, what are we longing for? What becomes possible when we are able to imagine futures beyond resilience?

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