Now in its 22nd year, SOMArts’ annual Día de Los Muertos exhibition is one of the most internationally diverse Day of the Dead celebrations in the United States. Founded by beloved San Francisco artist and curator René Yañez, Día de Los Muertos at SOMArts merges traditional altars with contemporary installations, continuing to be a multigenerational gathering of remembrance while affirming the importance of arts & culture in shaping our worlds.

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?

Every Día de Los Muertos exhibition is dedicated to community members whose legacy has inspired generations and galvanized movements.

Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez is known for her contributions to Chicana feminist literature and activism. Her activism was through her work as an educator, mentor, author, editor, and through direct local actions. She is the author of 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures and 500 Years of Chicana Women’s History.

Feminist art historian, Moira Roth, was an educator and mentor whose legacy will be felt by generations of students. Her research and articles centered performance art, feminist art practice, photography, multiculturalism, and more. In 1994, she worked with Yolanda Lopez on an essay titled “Social Protest: Racism and Sexism”.

Yolanda Lopez, iconic Chicana artist, activist, and a longtime staple in San Francisco’s Mission District, will be commemorated by her son and exhibition co-curator Rio Yañez. A pivotal voice in The Chicano Arts Movement, Yolanda continuously stood up for the works she had created and in turn, nurtured and mentored emerging generations of Latina artists.

Exhibiting artist dedications include Art Hazelwood and Kate DeCiccio who are honoring Ronnie Goodman, an unhoused artist and activist remembered as an important ‘visual voice on homelessness’. Elizabeth Addison commemorates activist, artist, and healer Betty Segal who focused on integrative bodywork and pioneered work on lymphedema. Both Ronnie Goodman and Betty Segal were deeply inspired to give back to their communities with Ronnie raising $10,000 for Hospitality House and Betty volunteering at Oakland’s Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, which provides free integrative care for low-income women with cancer.

Virtual Gallery