Michigan State University masthead

2012 Day of the Dead/El día de los Muertos

Special exhibition (ofrenda) and program 

Image of Day of the Dead - facepainting
Exhibit -- Nov. 1 - 11, Main Entry Hall 
Program -- Thursday, Nov. 1, 6-9 p.m. 
Theme -- Dedicated to Latinas in Cinema
6:00 Ofrenda to Lupe, Dolores and Rita: Latina Divas in Hollywood
6:15 Ofrenda Dedication. Key Speaker: PRISCILLA PEÑA OVALLE- University of Oregon 
“Divas Latinas”
6:30 Danza Azteca Performance
6:30-9:30 Face Painting/Poetry/Screen Printing/ 
For generations the Day of the Dead has been a unique and sacred festivity for people of Mexican descent on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. El día de los Muertos, an ancient Mexican celebration in which families reconnect with departed ancestors, provides a special opportunity to remember and celebrate the life and legacy of those who have moved ahead into the sacred lands of Mictlan. The realm of the “fleshless” or the dead (Mictlán in Nahuatl, Xibalbá in Maya), according to Ancient Mexican traditions, is conceived to be in a fluid relationship with the world of the “flesh” or the living. “The fleshless ones” are considered to be a living presence in this world while the “living ones” contemplate death as the natural progression of life and renewal. 
In the United States Mexican communities have turned the Day of the Dead into a public celebration of Latin@/o cultures, a ritual of rebellion & hope, a venue to create art reflecting on collective experiences, and, finally, an opportunity to bring the community together and a way to raise awareness of the cultural and historical collective memory of the community. In that spirit Michigan State University is presenting a vibrant program of cultural, educational and artistic events centered on the Day of the Dead and oriented to celebrate the contributions Latina movie stars in the history of American cinema. Lupe Vélez, Dolores del Río and Margarita Carmen Cansino (Rita Hayworth) starred in several films in the classic era of the Hollywood film industry, rendering outstanding performances and navigating in a milieu that was not kind, to say the least, to women, Latina women or Latin American cultures. Against all odds, Lupe, Dolores and Rita became movie stars and made an unforgettable mark in the history of American motion pictures.
From the silent era movies to the golden times of the Hollywood studio system Latina actors broke barriers and overcame prejudice to become leading characters in classic film and reached stardom and celebrity status. Lupe Vélez (1908-1944), Dolores del Río (1905-1983) and Margarita Cansino or Rita Hayworth (1918-1987). Their remarkable performances in many classic films often projected against productions featuring their “exotic” and hyper-sexualized characters, generated pride in their communities and recognition in the Americas as the first Latina Hollywood Stars.
Image of face-painting prep
The Day of the Dead celebration on Latina Divas in Hollywood at the Michigan State University Museum includes arts, performance, Aztec dance, community activities and tamales.
Sponsors: MSU Museum, Residential College in the Arts and the Humanities, Department of History, Center for Gender 
in Global Context, The Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions, Culturas de las Razas Unidas.                                            
For more information, contact: Javier Pescador pescador@msu.edu  &  Estrella Torrez torrezjs@msu.edu.