As the city slowly recovers from the pandemic, the annual Día de los Muertos celebration at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (MCCLA) has taken on a new meaning this year – “Ni Tanto Ni Tan Muertos (neither so many, nor so dead)” – to honor the memory of those who recently departed.
“Not too many, because there are many more of us still alive. Not so dead, because they are in our memories,” said Jennie Rodriquez, executive director of MCCLA. “The fact that we’re going to meet those we love once a year means a lot of hope.”
After going virtual in 2020, this year’s event was kicked off at 5:30 p.m with the Dead procession of around 20 people along Mission Street. From 6 p.m., guests entered the Mission Cultural Center and visited altars dedicated to the iconic cultural figures San Francisco lost this year: Hung Liu, a visual artist known for her stunning paintings that combine portraits with historical documents. Golden Gate now hangs in the atrium at the de Young Museum of Art.
Also lost were Anna Halprin, a dancer and choreographer, Yolanda Lopez, a visual artist known for her innovations in considering the Virgin de Guadalupe and now having her first museum show in San Diego; and Jack Hirschman, a well-known beat poet and former poet laureate of San Francisco.
The altars were organized by Adrian Arias, a visual poet and artist.
To celebrate the dead and the living, visitors enjoyed Danza Azteca, Jack Hirschman’s poetry, and the Anna Halprin Dancers dancers.
“I’d like the kids to feel the culture and the love,” said Alex Bargas, who brought his two children, ages five and seven, to the celebration. “They don’t get to get out as much as they used to. So I wanted to show them what it used to be like. Because they’re young, two years of their life is almost a quarter of their life.”
Please scroll down for photos from this year’s fete.
Read more about Yolanda Lopez here
Read more about Jack Hirschman here.