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Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

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Dia de los Muertos Art Show To Be Held Tonight


Every year, visual arts teacher and National Art Honors Society leader Deanna Sortino takes her Advanced 2-D Design class to the National Museum of Mexican Art and around the lively Pilsen area. After the trip, the advanced students — as well as lower classes — are assigned a project inspired by Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, that would be shown in the annual Dia de los Muertos art show.

Digital Photography 1 students are usually assigned the “Meatyard Project” that uses artist Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s creepy, masked subjects as inspiration. Many students have resonated with this project, with some AP 2-D Design students making it the concentration of their art portfolios.

“After four years of photography classes, the Meatyard project from October of freshman year will always be my favorite. I needed my concentration project to mean something. After some thought, I chose to use the broken and destroyed dolls to represent child abuse in all forms: emotional, physical, and sexual. I hope that my art will spread awareness about the epidemic that is childhood abuse. I want people to recognize that it is common, but it can be prevented and stopped,” senior AP 2-D Design student Claire Embil said.

Other students have connected to revealing who you are, or the ugly truth in Embil’s case, and that you don’t have to hide behind a mask. The Meatyard photographs will be at the Dia de los Muertos art show tonight from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the gallery.

As a leading high school in diversity, it’s not so surprising that the art department would host an art show inspired by Mexican culture.

“We have such a diverse student population here, and opening their eyes to as many cultures as possible is something I love to do. [The National Museum of Mexican Art] was great this year, the museum had two social activism alters;  they had one on Black Lives Matter and they also had one on the shooting in Orlando. It’s also a way to show a way how things that are happening in this world can be shown through art and help conversations start,” Sortino said.

Senior and AP 2-D Design student Edie Alvarado appreciates how the art department sticks to the root of Dia de los Muertos: to celebrate a loved one’s life, not mourn their death.

“I love seeing my culture represented so widely by the art department. I think it’s done tastefully and respectfully. It’s nice to see, after all the oppression of Mexicans, that we are being so nicely represented,” Alvarado said.

The art displayed at the show will be colorful and lively, much like Dia de los Muertos itself. Several media will be shown, ranging from digital art to painting. Many art students have been working on projects while remembering a lost loved one in a positive way.

“Dia de los Muertos has this stigma of being this very sad holiday, but actually the main focus of it is to celebrate those that have passed,” Sortino said.

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