Dara Katrina Del Rosario, Communications Manager

415-863-1414 x103, [email protected]

19th annual Día de los Muertos exhibition celebrates the life
of the Padrino of the Mission René Yañez
Exhibition and programming curated by Rio Yañez and Carolina Quintanilla
October 13–November 9, 2018

San Francisco, CA, September 18, 2018 –– Now in its 19th year, SOMArts’ Día de Los Muertos exhibition is one of the most internationally diverse Day of the Dead celebrations in the United States. Over the years, this group exhibition has brought together a wide variety of perspectives to honor, remember, and celebrate the dead.

Since its inception, Día de Los Muertos at SOMArts has offered a space for collective mourning, healing, and refusing to forget the people and places who have been lost. Merging traditional altars with contemporary installations, Dia de los Muertos continues to be a multigenerational gathering of remembrance while imagining the possibilities of the future. Now more than ever, it is imperative that our creative practices be rooted in social action that inspire better world for generations to come.

Curated by Rio Yañez and Carolina Quintanilla, this year’s theme, Honoring our Ancestors by Fighting for the Future, reflects on how those we’ve lost have shaped our creative and political work.  How does the wisdom and work of the dead show us a path and means to a better future? What about your past must you take to your future?

This year’s exhibition is dedicated to the Padrino of the Mission and beloved Día de Los Muertos co–curator, René Yañez. Yañez was crucial in the formation of Chicanx visual aesthetics and as a founding member of Galería de la Raza, created spaces that centered contemporary Latinx perspectives. Since 1999, Yañez curated the Día de Los Muertos exhibitions at SOMArts Cultural Center and we celebrate of his life, legacy, and impact on generations to come.

The exhibition unveiling, Friday, October 12, 2018, 6–9pm, $12–$15 sliding scale admission, features performances by La Mezcla and a Día de los Muertos inspired artist market.

Exhibitions highlights include returning artists Victor–Mario Zaballa, who has built a free standing shrine inspired by family altars found in the family compounds of Teotihuacan, and Alicia Cruz, whose piece encourages visitors to engage with freedom of speech, advocacy, and mentorship. Artist Adrian Arias interactive alleyway creates a space where visitors can leave a message or offering for the Padrino of La Mision.

Colectivo Desbordar will be honoring Marielle Franco in hopes of bringing visibility to crimes that may otherwise go unnoticed. Kristian Kabuay’s Araw ng mga Patay (“Day of the Dead”) spotlights the  similarities between Mexican and Pilipinx traditions while examining the ways in which indigenous practices fit into layered cultural systems.

Additional programming includes  evening of art remixing and DJing with the artists of Technotihuacan on Friday, October 25, 6–9pm, and a ticketed closing party featuring live performances and Dia de los Muertos inspired artist market on Friday, November 9, 6–9pm.

Honoring Our Ancestors by Fighting for the Future
Dia de los Muertos 2018

Saturday October 13th – Friday, November 9, 2018
Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm, Saturday 11am–5pm and Sunday 11am–3pm
Free admission during gallery hours

Honoring Our Ancestors by Fighting for the Future
Dia de los Muertos 2018
Exhibition Unveiling
Friday, October 12, 6–9pm
$12–15 sliding scale admission
Exhibition unveiling features a Día de los Muertos inspired artist market and multimedia dance performances by La Mezcla

Día de los Muertos 2018 presents: TechoTihuacan
Friday, October 25, 6–9 pm
$12–15 sliding scale admission
Join artists Rob Fatal and DJ Bianca Oblivion as they use DJing and art remixing to create digital murals exploring the intersections of contemporary Latinx life

Honoring Our Ancestors by Fighting for the Future
Dia de los Muertos 2018
Closing Reception
Friday, November 9, 2018, 6–9pm
$7–10 sliding scale admission
The final opportunity to view and interact with the altars features live music, artist market,  and interactive installations.

Rio Yañez, born and raised in San Francisco, is a curator, photographer, activist and graphic artist. As an artist he has exhibited his work from San Francisco to Tokyo and created artwork installations for Jean Paul Gaultier’s touring exhibit The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. His Bay Area solo exhibitions include Pocho Adventure Club at Galería de la Raza in San Francisco, Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yañez at Asterisk Gallery, Bubblegum Crisis at Ginger Rubio Salon and Pochos & Pixels at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Multicultural Center.

Yañez is a curator of more than 10 exhibitions. As with his curatorial work, a part of Yañez’ visual art practice is dedicated to exploring how Chicano and Asian Youth have used social media to exchange aesthetics and language. In addition to creating graphic art, Yañez is a founding member of The Great Tortilla Conspiracy, the world’s first and only tortilla art collective. As a tortilla artist he silkscreens art and political graphics onto tortillas using edible inks and serves them to eat to the public as interventionist performance art. Yañez’ recent projects include self-publishing board games designed around Chicano pop culture icons and a collaborative series of portraits with activist and performer April Flores.

Carolina Quintanilla is a student, artist, curator and arts administrator based in San Francisco, CA.

An MA candidate in Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, and SOMArts’ Curatorial Partnerships Manager for the past three years, Carolina has used both experiences to hone a critical curatorial practice that empowers artists to position themselves as the authors of their own stories.


SOMArts Cultural Center, founded in 1979, cultivates access to the arts within the Bay Area by collaborating with community-focused artists and organizations. Together, we engage the power of the arts to provoke just and fair inclusion, cultural respect and civic participation.

SOMArts plays a vital role in the arts ecosystem by helping activate the arts citywide. We do this by providing space and production support for non-profit events, as well as fairs and festivals throughout the Bay Area, and offering a robust program of art exhibitions, classes, events and performances that are affordable and accessible to all. SOMArts’ exhibition programs receive critical support from the San Francisco Arts Commission and The San Francisco Foundation, and are sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts.

SOMArts is located at 934 Brannan Street—between 8th and 9th—within 2 blocks of 101, I-80, Muni lines and bike paths. For public information call 415-863-1414 or visit Stay connected by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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