As part of our celebration of Dia de los Muertos this week, we are thrilled to feature four striking works by Catalina Delgado Trunk, one of the world’s leading papel picado artists and an internationally known authority on Dia de los Muertos and other Borderland artistic and cultural traditions and customs. Born and raised in Mexico City, Trunk’s work is included in permanent collections of institutions ranging from the Smithsonian to Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art.
As the artist statement on her website reads: “Through the medium of cut paper, I explore and reflect the rituals, traditions, myths, legends, and history of my native México, so very rich in its culture of synthesis.” This is certainly true regarding the pieces hanging in our dining room.
The two on the top both feature Trunk’s take on La Catrina, Mexico’s iconic grand dame of death. La Catrina originated back in 1910 with Jose Guadalupe Posada, considered the father of Mexican printmaking, during the days leading up to the Mexican Revolution. It was a clever caricature of the lavish, superficial trappings of the upper class, and a reminder that death makes equals of us all. Since then, this mysterious, elegantly dressed female skeleton has become synonymous with Dia de los Muertos, appearing in cartoons, on posters and in the works of some of Mexico’s greatest artists. One of the two works features Catrina alone, the other shows her dancing with a partner, as if at a high society ball.
The two matching pieces below, titled “Coming and Going” speak to the cycle of life, to the theme of entering and exiting, becoming and dying. The skeletons on bicycles riding in opposite directions are perched atop elaborate floral patterns and almost seem as if they are entwined in spider webs.
These special pieces will be hanging through the weekend – we hope you get a chance to see them in person! Thanks to Catalina’s son Sean, who lives nearby in Albany, for his helpful assistance.