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An Ofrenda by Sandra Cisneros

“Camino a Casa: Coming Home” is the theme of the 23rd Day of the Dead exhibition at the National Museum of Mexican Art, and author Sandra Cisneros is returning to Chicago to create a traditional altar in memory of her parents at the museum.

It’s also the 25th anniversary of the publication of Cisneros’s acclaimed first novel, “The House on Mango Street,” based on her experiences growing up in Humboldt Park. It was the first novel by a Mexican American woman to be published by a mainstream publisher.

Speaking in Chicago this spring (as reported at Latina Voices), Cisneros recalled how teachers at Josephinum High School worked with her to develop her literary vocation, and how she treasured the quiet she found at the Humboldt Park library.

Cisneros graduated from Loyola University and taught at Latino Youth Alternative High School in Chicago. She now lives and works in San Antonio, where she founded the Macondo Foundation to support literary artists whose work is “part of a larger task of community-building and nonviolent social change.”

She is creating an ofrenda, an altar with offerings to the spirits of the departed, as part of NMMA’s Dia de Muertos exhibition.

In addition, a community ofrenda is being constructed in memory of long-time civic leader Arturo Velasquez Sr., who died in April at the age of 93. The exhibition also features works of art and ofrendas by local and international artists.

An opening reception takes place Friday, September 25 at 6 p.m. at the museum at 1852 W. 19th Street. The exhibition runs until December 13.

Related events in coming weeks include demonstrations of the traditional art of sugar skull making; Mexican artisans demonstrating traditional folk arts; a community night on November 1; children’s art classes and a holiday market.

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Category: arts, authors, Humboldt Park, museums

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