Cuentos y Memoria
Dia de los Muertos installation honoring the deceased members of the Martinez-Rodriguez family. A multi-media installation containing video, ofrenda, and the Earth Dragon Suite of prints and hand made coffin from which the prints were pulled.
A family’s history suffers when an individual dies and his/her life stories are forgotten. If the deceased’s life is like a collection of stories within a book, then a family’s history is a great library containing these collections. If the family members pass on without conveying their stories to a younger generation then it is as if a great library has burned to the ground.
Ramiro Rodriguez’s Dia de los Muertos installation, “Cuentos y Memoria,” honors the lives of family members from the Martinez-Rodriguez family that have passed on. The ofrenda’s (offering/altar) arrangement of traditional elements, such as, pictures, flowers, and food is supplemented with contemporary elements in an attempt to document the stories of those that have gone on.
The title “Cuentos y Memoria” (Stories and Memory) refers to the stories family members recount to remember the loved ones that have passed. The telling of these stories adds to the collective memory of the family and keeps alive, in minds and hearts, those that have left us. The narrating passes along a little bit of the departed’s life to those that knew him/her, as well as, to younger generations who may not have known him/her.
A portion of the installation features a loop of video interviews that are part of an on-going family oral history documentation by Ramiro. Various members of the Martinez-Rodriguez family (parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces…) relay memories about their departed loved ones. In this instance, the video replaces the conversations, remembrances, and story tellings that traditionally occur at a graveside during the Dia de los Muertos celebration.
In the gallery a book filled coffin represents the lives of ancestors that have been forgotten and buried with time. When viewed in sections, the sides of the box present a snapshot of various aspects of a life. However, when viewed as a succession of prints pulled from the individual side sections, a life’s journey is exposed as a continuous circular image that repeats infinitely as the body of an Olmec dragon carved into a stone sarcophagus.