On the Path of Marigolds: Living Traditions of Mexico's Day of the Dead

Photographer Ann Murdy has been documenting the celebrations around Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) in Mexico for more than twenty years. A native of Los Angeles, she first started collecting Chicano art in the 1990's and was drawn to Mexico by the vibrancy of its culture and traditions. She loved the rich colors she found everywhere such as the flowers adorning the ofrendas or altars to the dead to the dusky yellow of the marigolds lining pathways leading to the ofrendas in both private homes and cemeteries.

As Murdy’s hauntingly beautiful images show, in Mexico death is considered a part of life and something to be celebrated rather than feared. El Día de los Muertos (which actually lasts two days on November 1 and 2) is a time to gather with friends and families to feast, pray, dance and honor the lives of those who have died. From the preparation of the food and flowers to the sanctification of the public and private spaces, to the ceremony itself, Murdy captures the spirit, beauty, and magic of this sacred observance.

On the Path of Marigolds features ninety of Murdy’s most stunning images of celebrations from three villages--Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Huaquechua in Puebla and the communities around Lake Pátzcuaro in Michoacán--along with a conversation between her and Cesáro Moreno, Director of Visual Arts and Chief Curator of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago and an essay by Mexican-American writer Denise Chávez.