Catrinas | Submissions and Thoughts

We’ve had a number of inspiring and inspired submissions to our call for entries: Catrinas. Below you will find a curated gallery of some of our favourite submissions.

We wanted to reflect on the call as well as the direction of the project.

Integrating your wonderful submissions into our ongoing participatory art work will be a challenge, but a worthy one. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing with you the process of submission integration, as well as the artistic project development.

The Catrinas call for entries was particularly challenging for us. We therefore decided to examine the connection between the call for entries and our main topic of identity.

What does Catrina have to do with identity? First, most generally, it is a form of artistic self-expression. Secondly, a Catrina is an expression of facing death, of accepting death as inevitable. Yet there is something satirical in this. On Día de los muertos, our dead friends and family are with us once more for this one day, in spirit. The figure of the Catrina, though portraying a dead person, is at the same time very much alive: she is animated, she wears colourful clothes, she dances. This very interesting article traces her development from the time Posada created the figure, to her subsequent publicization by artists such as Rivera and Kahlo.

In the face of death, we are all equal, yet we all celebrate the preciousness of life through looking death in the eye. We also remember our deceased friends and family with love. Finally, dressing up as a Catrina or a similar figure for Dia de los muertos can let an individual express not only their creative identity, but also their self-perception in a new context. If the submitter instead chooses to send a photo of a doll, drawing, or figurine, this person is expressing their individual identity through a creative act, which is a central part of the work we do in the context of participatory art.

The way we want to integrate the Catrinas into our What if? artwork will reflect not only the unique personal identity of each participant; it will also create a colourful and expressive overall tapestry. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks and see the collaboration take more formal shape.

Featured image: © Daniela Michelle

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