Invisible Victims
 
Arte Sana celebrates the annual day of the dead with a tribute to the memory of those whom we have lost forever as well as those who may not have expired physically, but have faded nonetheless.
Invisible Victims
Victimas Invisibles

Artist: Arte Sana

The premise for Arte Sana's altar for the annual Day of the Dead celebration arose from the notion that much of what we believe to be true is often an illusion. As an example, many of the privileges we hold dear in this country - such as our right to safety and freedom maintain their significance in part due to the reverence we ourselves place upon them. However, when this faith is shattered, these gifts may seem to vanish instantly.

Prior to and especially since September 11, an incalculable number of people have disappeared from our landscape. Whether through the physical removal by terrorist murder or via cultural, religious, political, or gender oppression, many have been forced to dissipate. With their freedom to exist denied, the repercussions of their absence is enormous.

The terrible events of September 11 constituted not only an attack on people and property - they were an attack as well on the very principles of human rights. As the nation forges its individual and collective response to this outrage, it must uphold those cherished principles. Anger at the heinousness of the September 11 attacks is understandable. But that anger cannot justify vengeful and lawless violence against the innocent. (Stop Hate Crimes Now, Human Rights Watch (New York, September 21, 2001)

We offer this altar in memory of those who are gone forever as well as those who have not expired physically, but have faded nonetheless.

 
 
 
       
    
       
     
 

About the altar

Bells: When placed on an altar, bells symbolize the "summoning" of the dearly departed from the afterworld. In this altar the bells also serve a second function to draw attention to the ongoing victimization that many suffer in our midst.

Candles: This altar includes both lit and un-lit candles. While candles are symbolic of hope and enlightenment, a lit candle symbolizes an open channel of communication with the afterworld. It is used to attract the spirit of the deceased and helps to light the journey to the altar. The un-lit candles are meant to both represent the prominent structures that were

Clay Censer/Incense Holder: A clay bowl or incense holder is used to burn the incense or copal. Copal, is one of the most common incense used in cleansing rituals and to attract the honored spirits to the altar. It is believed that the aromatic smoke creates a path to the altar.

Covered messages: The sides of the altar panels include information regarding racial/ethnic profiling and the ongoing aftermath lived by many as a consequence of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The messages are intentionally covered, to represent how difficult it may be for some to read beyond black and white or to acknowledge the victimization of others.

Flowers and symbols: While flowers signify life, once cut, they also symbolize how short our lives may be. The flowers on this altar are positioned to partially cover symbols of ethnic or religious affiliations and gender orientation, to represent the forced or defensive silencing of convictions and identity.

Mirrors: The mirrors serve two functions: to incorporate the viewer into the display, and thus affirm the idea that we are all potential victims, and to illustrate the immeasurable repercussions of terrorism and oppression.

Skulls: Skulls, bones, and skeletons are included Day of the Dead altars to affirm the idea that death is not final, they reinforce the belief that the dead continue to have life and form--only in another plane. The colorful skulls of this altar are used to represent diversity in life and death; on, before, and since 9/11. The white skulls are meant to remind us of how fragile we and our virtues can be.

Water Bowl: A bowl of water is used to absorb negative energies, especially if the altar is used as a critical altar. The violence of terrorism and oppression poisons our existence, thus the water is offered for cleansing.

Read about last year's altar for the Day of the Dead.

Article: Cultural Holiday Offers Opportunity To Reflect On Our Need For Commemoration 

 

 Componentes del altar 

Las campanas: Las campanas que forman parte de este altar representan el llamado que les hacemos a los que se han ido al mas allá. También cumplen una segunda función de llamar la atención al sufrimiento de esas victimas que viven entre nosotros.

Las velas: Nuestro altar incluye velas encendidas y apagadas. Mientras que las velas representan esperanza, y progresismo, una vela encendida también simboliza la vía de comunicación abierta con el mas allá. Se utiliza para atraer a los espíritus de los difuntos y as alumbrar su jornada hacia el altar. Las velas apagadas en este altar representan a las estructuras que hemos perdido y sirven también para rendir homenaje al inquebrantable espíritu humano que niega rendirse.

Los colores: Los colores cumplen un papel central como recuerdo de nuestra diversidad política y cultural, también representan luto y las tendencias de etiquetar o catalogar por género. Los tejidos que se ven a la base del pedestal representan los valiosos aportes y el sufrimiento de las culturas indígenas de esta América.

Las flores y los símbolos: Mientras que las flores representan a la vida, una flor ya cortada también simboliza lo corto que puede ser la vida. Las flores de este altar están colocadas para cubrir parcialmente a los símbolos de afiliaciones políticas o religiosas y orientación sexual, para simbolizar el efecto silenciador de la mordaza forzada o asumida defensivamente.

Los mensajes ocultos: Los paneles que se encuentran a los lados del altar incluyen información sobre cómo encajonamos las distintas razas y grupos étnicos y las consecuencias siguen a raíz de los trágicos eventos del día 11 de Septiembre del 2001. Los mensajes fueron cubiertos intencionalmente para ilustrar lo fácil que es cegamos o negar el trato injusto e discriminatorio de otros.

Incienso: Una hoya de barro o cualquier otro incensario puede servir para quemar incienso o copal. El copal se usa muy a menudo en los ritos de las limpias, y para atraer a los espíritus al altar. Se cree que el humo aromatizado crea un camino hacia al altar.

Los espejos: Los espejos tienen función doble; la de incorporar al espectador dentro de la exposición y así reafirmar el concepto que todos somos victimas potenciales e ilustrar las innumerables repercusiones de opresión a consecuencias de los actos terroristas.

Las calaveras: Las calaveras, los huesos y los esqueletos son incluidos en los altares de Día de los Muertos para reafirmar la idea de que la muerte no es el final.

Ellos también reafirman la idea que los muertos continúan de tener vida y forma solo en otro plano de existencia. Las coloridas calaveras de este altar muestran la diversidad que existe entre la vida y la muerte. Las calaveras blancas con las etiquetas seguridad, tolerancia y inocencia sirven para recordarnos lo frágil que somos y lo frágiles que son nuestras virtudes.

Un recipiente con agua: El recipiente con agua se usa para absorber todas las energías negativas, especialmente si el altar expresa crítica también. La violencia de terrorismo y la opresión, envenenan nuestra existencia y por esta razón el agua es ofrecida como símbolo de limpieza y sanción.

Lea sobre el altar del año pasado.

 
 
 

ADVISORY

Due to the nature of the themes that we cover and the issues that we address, some of the artwork displayed may be explicit, disturbing, and potentially triggering for some people.
 
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The artwork featured on this site does not necessarily reflect our views, we simply provide the forum as an exercise of freedom of speech and to promote a dialogue and search for solutions for gender and racial violence.

 


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