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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

Día De Los Muertos Exhibit At Mexican National Art Museum Honors People Lost To Coronavirus

While the museum is closed this year, it is offering live virtual tours and virtual altar-making workshops.

Untitled piece from Alfonso Castillo Orta at the National Museum of Mexican Art Permanent Collection
Michael Tropea
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PILSEN — As the Mexican National Art Museum in Pilsen begins observing Día De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a new exhibit is memorializing Latinos who have died during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Sólo un Poco Aquí: Day of the Dead” honors people who have died from COVID-19 in Chicago and globally, said Antonio Parazan, director of education at the museum, 1852 W. 19th St. 

The exhibit is “paying tribute and remembering … the numerous individuals from our community … during this terrible pandemic,” he said. 

“We’ve had some of the highest number of infections … and a high number of deaths, as well,” Parazan said, noting Latino neighborhoods in Chicago have been among the hardest hit by coronavirus.

RELATED: Chicago’s Latino Neighborhoods Have Most Coronavirus Cases In The State. Is The City Doing Enough To Respond?

Day of the Dead, a Mexican tradition that honors the deceased, runs Oct. 31-Nov. 2. The days coincide with the Catholic holidays All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, but the holiday was born from ancient Aztec traditions.

The museum typically brings in artists from different regions of Mexico, but it has worked exclusively with local artists this year because of travel restrictions, Parazan said.

Catrina con cántaros (Fancy Lady with Water Jugs} by Alfonso Alejandro Rosas Zapién.

Salvador Jiménez-Flores, Rodrigo Lara Zendejas, Elsa Muñoz and Yollocalli Youth Council are among this year’s contributors. 

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the museum is closed to the public until further notice. Instead, it’s offering virtual tours for community members and students.

“Day of the Dead is the most popular time of the year here at the museum. Not being able to open up our doors for our educators was a little bit worrisome, so we tried something new,” Parazan said.

With the live virtual tours, individuals are able to ask questions on the spot, Parazan said.

The museum has also put together educational resources for parents and teachers, he said.

In years past, the museum has hosted ofrenda-making workshops at the museum, but this year, the workshops will be online so people can make the altars at home, Parazan said.

“Even though our doors are closed, we have been very active online, creating opportunities for our community and the people who follow our museum to make their life a little bit easier at the moment,” Parazan said.

The exhibit virtual tours run through Dec. 13.

Learn more about the museum’s Dia de Los Muertos live virtual exhibits and workshops here.

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