A gallery reception will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday evening for the latest exhibit at Foothills Arts Council, entitled “Momento Mori.”
The art in this exhibit comes from a variety of artists including locals Anne Gulley, Rosy Beverley, Peter Neumark, Leighanne Martin and Efrain Salazar, as well as Winston-Salem artist Erica Steffensen.
“It has turned out to be a rather fun exhibit — a bit quirky in a way, as well as thought-provoking. We will have wine and refreshments and as always our gallery receptions are free,” said Arts Council Executive Director Leighanne Martin Wright.
The art in the exhibit centers around the themes of skulls and death and also pays homage to Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a cultural holiday celebrated in Mexico as a way to honor those who have passed on. Reyna and Tirzo Ortiz, owners of El Ahorro Restaurant and Tienda on Bridge Street, have set up an ofrenda, or altar, as part of the exhibit. An ofrenda is a common method of honoring the dead during Dia de Los Muertos by placing photos and other items in remembrance of a loved one who has died.
“Momento Mori is Latin for ‘remember death,’ meaning it is what happens to us all,” explained Anne Gulley. “Our show was originally just going to be the skull paintings and sculptures to evoke Halloween. This altar is a cultural bridge which brings the holiday as it is celebrated in Mexico right here to Surry County, and adds, we hope, a layer of understanding and meaning to the Elkin community.”
The Day of the Dead altar set up in the gallery features a photo of Jose Guadalupe Muñoz, Tirzo Ortiz’s father.
“On the altar are foods and beverages that he enjoyed when he was alive,” Ortiz said. “Because he was Catholic, there is a rosary. Also on the altar are fruits and vegetables, tamales, tortillas, bread. Also salt representing the continuance of life, candles welcoming and guiding the souls back to the altar, and a glass of water for the thirsty souls upon their arrival back to this world.”
Ortiz said Dia de Los Muertos is a time to remember. His family did not always have an altar, but it was a time to be with family and visit the cemetery and remember family members who are gone.
“We are very excited to have the ofrenda as part of the Momento Mori show,” Gulley added.
Coming up later this month at the Foothills Arts Council is Open Mic Poetry Night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 30. Sponsored by the Elkin Public Library and the arts council, this night of poetry will feature local readers and writers and is for ages 16 and older only. Brushy Mountain Winery will be on hand for pouring and there will be light refreshments. Those interested in reading should email Kasey Nowalk at the library at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on upcoming arts council events, follow the Foothills Arts Council Facebook page or visit www.foothillsartscouncil.org.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.