Chicago Day of the Dead exhibit memorializes COVID victims

CHICAGO -- The National Museum of Mexican Art's biggest exhibit is always their annual show for Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, and this year's exhibit features one of their largest ever art installations: a memorial for victims of the pandemic.

"This 'ofrenda' was dedicated to victims of COVID in the U.S. and Mexico," said artist Alejandro Garcia Nelo.

Ofrendas, meaning "offerings," are traditional altars built to remember and memorialize family members during the holiday.

Ofrendas often incorporate marigold flowers, food, photographs and mementos, and they are decorated with two styles of paper art, called "cartoneria" and "papel picado."

Cesareo Moreno, the museum's chief curator and visual arts director, called Nelo "a master artist."

"(Nelo) uses traditional art forms in very contemporary ways," Moreno said.

Along with Nelo's massive installation, the exhibit also features artwork specific to three different states in Mexico, paintings focused on the U.S. Mexican community, and sculptures exploring themes around death. The exhibit can be viewed until December 12.