Dia de Muertos in Oaxaca - Arnold Art Gallery
118 Ft. McKavitt Street, Mason, Texas
On the north side of Mason's historic square
Oct. 25-Nov. 24, 2018 (325) 347-6272
The Dia de Muertos (Days of the Dead) in Mexico entails a unique cultural celebration centering on deceased loved ones. The annual celebration punctuates the end of October and beginning of November throughout Mexico. Each region has its own particular traditions. In Oaxaca, the holidays are steeped in the strong regional traditions that can be traced back from Pre-Columbian times through Colonial times and up to the present day.
In 2001 and 2003, art historian Dr. Carey Rote, sociologist Dr. Pamela Meyer, psychologist Dr. Paula Biedenharn, and I (as photographer) travelled to Oaxaca during this festival. We travelled throughout the Valley of Oaxaca visiting archaeological sites, churches, graveyards, markets and individuals homes. We were introduced to and accompanied by Juan Cruz, native of Xoxocotlán and an illustrator for archeologist Dr. Marcus Winter, who led us through the preparations and celebrations and spoke to us of family rituals during this important time of year.
These photographs speak to the history of the Dia de Muertos celebration that dates back to the very beginnings of civilization in Oaxaca. From the earliest archaeological discoveries, progressing through Colonial expressions, the contemporary Dia de Muertos combines the pagan past with Christian ideology and modernist influences to create an atmosphere that is both old and new.
Barbra Riley has been developing curriculum and teaching classes in photography, design and watercolor painting at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for over 3 decades as well as curating exhibitions for the Islander and Weil Gallery, conducting workshops in historical photographic processes, bookbinding and watercolor painting and leading classes and workshops abroad.
Riley has now retired from teaching at the University and relocated to her studio in the Texas Hill Country to work on Digital prints, Alternative Processes and Mixed media.
Riley’s photographs and paintings have been included in exhibitions at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Laguna Beach Museum of Art, California. In Texas, she has exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Houston Center for Photography, Laguna Gloria Museum in Austin, Abilene Fine Arts Museum, and The Art Museum of South Texas as well as dozens of universities, art galleries and alternative art exhibition spaces. Currently, 18 large painted photographs by Riley are featured in the new AT&T Center Collection of Art in San Antonio.
In Texas, her work resides in numerous permanent collections including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Dallas Museum of Art, the Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin, the AT&T Center and Republic National Bank, San Antonio and The Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi. Nationally, she is represented in the corporate collections of Chase Bank, New York, Kaiser-Permanente and Price Waterhouse, California.