Oakland Museum of California

Songs and Sorrows: Días de los Muertos 20th Anniversary Exhibition

Partners: Maya Lin School; Oakland School for the Arts; Skyline High School


Educators: Constance Moore, Lead Artist; Jamie Treacy, Lead Artist; Pablo Cristi, Oakland School for the Arts


Avery Luong
RISE (Kite), 2014
Acrylic and graphite on paper, tissue paper, wood, string


Gia Collaco
Kite, 2014
Painted paper, tissue paper, wood, string


Senay Alkebu-Ian, 12th Grade
Mask, 2014
Painted cardboard, plastic


The Oakland Museum of California partnered with local artists, students, and teachers from three schools for this year’s Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibition, “Songs and Sorrows.” The annual exhibition preserved the museum’s commitment to celebrating the customs of the Mesoamerican and Californian Dias de los Muertos while introducing visitors to contemporary practices. The exhibition explored this holiday from its pre-Hispanic origins to its present expressions in California, weaving together the iconic imagery with the aesthetic and spiritual qualities of this tradition. The kites on display were inspired by Guatemalan kites of remembrance and created to honor departed loved ones as well as the natural world. Senay Alkebu-Ian created his mask in memory of jazz musician, Sun Ra, and took inspiration from traditional death masks to honor this influential cultural figure.