Mayborn’s Dia de los Muertos exhibit set to showcase Hispanic heritage

The Mayborn Museum hosts a community ofrenda, where you have the opportunity to place photos and items of a loved one you're remembering. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

The Mayborn Museum Complex has reserved a location inside the building from Sept. 26 through Nov. 1 to celebrate Hispanic heritage through an ofrenda for Dia de los Muertos.

The holiday is celebrated from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2. People make ofrendas and altars in order to place pictures or objects that resemble those who they have lost. They celebrate death and use this day to show honor, respect and love for family members and people that are no longer with them.

The artist behind the ofrenda exhibit, Eric Linares, has opened up about what it means for him and for the Waco Hispanic community to build and present an exhibit that demonstrates a big part of their culture.

Linares said that three years ago there was no representation of Dia de los Muertos in Waco. He said there were little things, but there was nothing big for Hispanics to celebrate this important day.

In 2019, Linares and his team started a project where they would start an ofrenda where the public could come and bring pictures of their loved ones and their offerings. For 2020, Linares, along with his team, had planned a bigger event where there was going to be a parade and people could come in and embrace the culture. Since COVID-19 was in its worst place throughout that time, the event had to be canceled, Linares said.

Even though the event was not going to happen, the Mayborn was already looking into integrating different cultures and reached out to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who recommended Linares work along with them for a project.

Since there was a big ofrenda already made, they realized they could make some space for it in the museum and open it to the public.

Linares said this year’s exhibit compared to last year’s differs from the amount of space the Mayborn offered, making it three times bigger thanks to the success of last year’s exhibit.

“It always goes back to the idea of celebrating your ancestors, understanding your roots, understanding that we come from our families, and being proud of our heritage, and being proud of our race and culture and at the same time understanding the beauty of life through this celebration,” Linares said.

Rebecca Nall, media manager at the Mayborn, said the museum has also included art from Ines Alvidres who also represents Hispanic culture.

Nall said there is a place on the second floor of the museum where people can come and do arts and crafts related to the celebration of Dia de los Muertos.

Houston sophomore Marisol Villareal said Dia de los Muertos is a very special celebration for her and her family. The Hispanic culture to her is being part of a big family with strong, beautiful people, Villareal said.

“My mom would always place a picture of my Abu at the center of the ofrenda and place all of his favorite things around him. She would then go on to ornate the ofrenda with beautiful sugar skulls, marigold flowers and pan de muerto,” Villareal said in an email interview.

The exhibit is currently open to the public and will remain there until Nov. 1. Students, faculty, staff and visitors are welcomed to bring in pictures or objects that represent their lost loved ones and they can place them in the ofrenda.