Amor Eterno Día de los Muertos, calavera art show celebrate lives of lost loved ones

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Update: Organizers urge people to bring their own seats.

Borderland residents can get in the spirit of Día de los Muertos on Saturday at an event that combines art and food in a celebration of lost loved ones.

The Amor Eterno, or eternal love, event will be from 4 to 11 p.m. at Plaza Ortiz, 10177 Socorro Road, in Socorro.

Darlene Jane Escandón de Arvizu of Jane & Jensen Vintage and the husband-wife team of Gabe and Mel Padilla, of the Casa del Humo food truck, organized the event.

Amor Eterno Día de los Muertos, calavera art show celebrate lives of lost loved ones
© Samuel Gaytan/El Paso Times Artist Mario Alonso Perez, from left, Darlene Jane Escandón de Arvizu and Mel and Gabe Padilla flank the Día de los Muertos altar at Casa Ortiz created by Escandón in honor of the loved ones she has lost. The altar will be on display at the Amor Eterno event Saturday.

Escandón noted that the holiday honors children on Nov. 1, el Día de los Inocentes, while adults are remembered Nov. 2. 

As part of the celebration, Brian Holt’s giant wire skull sculpture will return to the compound in Socorro.

Holt, who previously was a resident artist at Casa Ortiz but now helps lead Amano Artist Co-op, said he expects flowers will be placed along the top of the skull.

Then, Gabe Padilla said, people can put the names of lost loved ones inside the skull, which will then be lit on fire.

“We are also setting up an altar,” he said, adding that “there will be a beautiful mercado” as well.

Escandón set up the altar. She said she has been working on the event with the Padillas for a few months.

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“They wanted me to host a vintage market, and checking our schedules,” they determined the best time would be in October, she said via Instagram messenger.

“They’ve seen me through the sorrow of having my dad pass and since I had mentioned the altar I wanted to do for my dad again and the proximity to Día de los Muertos, it all came together beautifully,” Escandón said. “Once I made the call to vendors, I was inundated with immense support. This year I have the misfortune of also adding my tía-abuela Martha, but I see it as an opportunity to celebrate their life, their teachings, everything they were and will continue to be for us.

“Our ancestors are a part of who we become, and instead of wallowing in the deep sorrow their passing has brought, I’ve chosen to now celebrate all the memories we’re left with,” she said.

Amor Eterno Día de los Muertos, calavera art show celebrate lives of lost loved ones
© Samuel Gaytan/El Paso Times Artist Diego “Robot” Martinez says his skull and calavera artwork exhibit reflects “that we’re celebrating someone that’s passed and kind of this beauty and essence to why we’re all here, how we’re all kind of passing through life and how we should always celebrate life in general.”

Diego ‘Robot’ Martinez art exhibit at Casa Ortiz

Diego “Robot” Martinez of the Casa Ortiz gallery at 10167 Socorro Road, which is in the same compound as the food truck and Three Missions Brewery, has put together a calavera-themed show to accompany the event. The show will run from Saturday, Oct. 23, to Oct. 29.

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Several of Martinez’s colorful paintings of skulls will be part of the exhibit. He said he sees the artwork as a way to celebrate what makes the region unique.

“So, me personally, being here on the border, I love the culture, I love the bright colors, I love the stories and the things that we take away from each folk tale about Día de los Muertos,” he said.

“More importantly, I think the fact that we’re celebrating someone that’s passed and kind of this beauty and essence to why we’re all here, how we’re all kind of passing through life and how we should always celebrate life in general.”

He added: “Death isn’t something scary or ugly, but it’s something that should be beautiful and celebrated. So, that’s what we’re doing here at Casa Ortiz.”

He said the gallery is holding “an open call, so we’re actually taking all submissions. We want it to be open to the public, open to everyone. We want to accept everybody and have them feel a part of this … space, you know, to know that we’re here for them, that we’re here for all artists, and we’re not going to be turning anyone away. We want everybody to be a part of it.”

Artists can contact the gallery through its Instagram page, 

It is free to be in the show, but the gallery receives 30% of sales. Booths also can be set up for $20 in the patio and vendors keep all sales, Martinez said. 

Despite the event’s theme, there also will be music and lighter activities.

“We’ll be having trick or treating throughout the booths and costumes are highly encouraged,” Escandón said. There also will be face painting and a group of catrinas made up of a roller derby crew.

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Catrinas are the female skeletal figures in stylized dress that were created by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada, who used them in his satirical work focusing on political and societal issues. The characters date back more than 100 years; Posada died in 1913.

Amor Eterno Día de los Muertos, calavera art show celebrate lives of lost loved ones
© Samuel Gaytan/El Paso Times A skull-themed painting by artist Diego “Robot” Martinez of Casa Ortiz art gallery in Socorro.

Escandón said music, dance and possibly live painting will be part of Amor Eterno.

“One of the vendors joining us, Darlina Marie, will do us the honor of performing a Fire Fusion Dance, giving life to the fire she performs with,” Escandón said. “Once she finishes, she’ll then light our skull effigy, shared with us by Brian Holt, signifying the end of that light, the transition to death, a light everlasting. Liminal Zones will perform ‘Amor Eterno’ while we toast to our dearly departed.”

She said, “It promises to be an emotional roller coaster for me, having placed so much of what I do with my family into this celebration, but I am looking forward to sharing our stories, meeting all our vendors, and cheering for our dead.”

Amor Eterno Día de los Muertos, calavera art show celebrate lives of lost loved ones
© Courtesy Gabe Padilla The Amor Eterno celebration will be Oct. 23 at Plaza Ortiz in Socorro.

About Amor Eterno  

What: “This is more than just a market, it’s a tribute to those we have lost, a esos que les tendremos amor eterno,” Darlene Jane Escandón de Arvizu of Jane & Jensen Vintage said in an Instagram post promoting the event. “Ami Papa, Mis abuelos, tios, amigos. We’ll honor their time here, their love and teachings, and all that they’ve left behind. Because of them, I’m here; I’m the person I am today because of them. 

“Come celebrate with me. Let’s make it a night they will feel, when they can come and celebrate with us, when we can feel them around us.”

Admission/when: free; 4-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23


• 4-6 p.m.: Midnight at the Laundromat

• 6-7 p.m.: Mariachis Raices Mexicanas/Namaste Tribe

• 7-7:30 p.m. Lighting of the skull

• 7-8:30 p.m.: Liminal Zones/Fire Fusion Dance

• 9-10 p.m.: F-Bombs

• 10 p.m.-12 a.m.: No Request Radio

Amor Eterno Día de los Muertos, calavera art show celebrate lives of lost loved ones
© Samuel Gaytan/El Paso Times Gabriel Marquez on Wednesday creates artwork for the calavera art exhibit set for Casas Ortiz on Saturday.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Amor Eterno Día de los Muertos, calavera art show celebrate lives of lost loved ones

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