A skeletal-themed procession celebrating departed ancestors will wend its way through downtown Norman early next month.

It will be the culmination of the exhibition “Dia de los Muertos: La Liminalidad” hosted by Oscillator Press, 315 E. Main St. The show starts 6 to 9 p.m. Friday as part of the city’s Second Friday Art Walk.

The concluding procession Nov. 2 will consist of Dia de los Muertos revelers walking from Oscillator Press to the City of Norman’s emergency shelter, 325 E. Comanche St.

Those participating are encouraged by event curators to wear calavera (skull) masks and costumes. Revelers will hand deliver offerings of dry pantry goods like tortillas, beans, rice, corn, shelf-stable foods and toiletries, which will be collected throughout the exhibition’s run.

The curators request that attendees on opening night purchase art that will be on display and donate pantry items. These items will be distributed by the Autonomous Brown Berets of Oklahoma, Mutual Aid Food Drive and the Uprooted and Rising Resonator Fridge dry pantry on East Comanche Street.

The Autonomous Brown Berets of Oklahoma are active members of the Oklahoma Coalition for Revolutionary Action. Additionally, the curators request participants to wear masks.

Artists Helen Grant, Alicia Smith and Blanca Carrillos are La Liminalidad’s curators. The exhibition Friday will include video, installation art, T-shirt printing on site and in progress, and many art selections.

Funds raised will benefit Dream Action Oklahoma, a community-based organization aiming to empower the local immigrant community through advocacy and education, and dedicated to justice for all immigrants.

Dream Action Oklahoma helps the local immigrant community through promoting education, civic engagement and service.

An “ofrenda” installation, or ritualistic, home-style altar common in Latin American communities, will be there to remind patrons of the dry goods donation drive.

“Join us in the liminal space between this moment and the next. That is what it means to be of ‘a time and place.’ Liminality is a supernatural and surreal experience,” curators said about the exhibit. “The rules as we know them don’t apply to the passage of what was and what will be. You must simply traverse the terrain and learn along the way.”

In addition to being an artist, show curator Helen Grant is a professional writer with an undergraduate degree in that discipline from the University of Oklahoma.

She worked for OKC.net for four years, is a former employee of Big Foot Creative and is currently employed by Oscillator Press.

Grant is an active and tireless activist for social justice. She was an organizer of the 2018 Art Against Violence event benefiting the Women’s Resource Center. Giving artists a platform to educate and advocate for social justice has been part of her mission here.

Curator Blanca Carillos’ Instagram account reveals the profile of “foolish and beautiful.”

According to the exhibit’s biography, “Blanca sometimes makes art, but most of the time, you can find them pondering on a rock thinking about life. As an undocu(mented) latinx/e queer person, they feel the need to make art about their experiences.

“They enjoy the duality of being both absolutely basic and like everyone else and at the same time an ‘alien.’”

Curator Alicia Smith has been termed an “Oklahoma artist to watch.” She has a show of her work in New York City this month and has been an Art Basel (Miami Beach, Florida) exhibitor.

The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City acquired Smith’s art for its permanent collection in 2020.

According to La Liminalidad’s biography, Smith is a Xicana artist and activist who received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in contemporary sculpture and printmaking from the University of Oklahoma and an Master of Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts.

“Her work uses the abject and sublime to investigate certain ideas. She is interested in the tension between greed and reverence and its impact on the environment, as well as our relationship to the female body,” the biography reads. “Through these processes she dissolves romanticized tropes that deny Indigenous women their complexity, while at the same time demonstrating their beauty and strength.

“Being of mixed race heritage, her relationship to the land and her body is complicated and something she unpacks through her work with the guidance of her ancestors.”

 

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