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State Fair of Texas celebrates the tradition of Día de los Muertos, pays tribute to COVID victims and Mundo Latino

The exhibit pays homage to those lost due to COVID-19 and the force behind Mundo Latino, Cynthia Benavides-Luna.
Credit: Lourdes Vazquez
The Texas State Fair's Mundo Latino Exhibit will feature the traditions of Día de los Muertos.

DALLAS — The Women’s Museum has been transformed into the Mundo Latino’s Día de los Muertos Exhibit for the State Fair of Texas. 

Luminary bags align the outside of the museum along with decorative skulls.

Inside, three floors tell the tradition of Day of the Dead. Also, there are photos of people the pandemic has taken, which sit beside decorative skulls on an altar. 

Daniel Gutierrez Mendoza is one of the individuals who is being remembered. 

Daniel’s brother, Eduardo Gutierrez is one of the artists behind the ofrenda, dedicated to the lives lost due to COVID-19. 

“He was always helping us with the productions in Mexico City,” said Eduardo, artistic director of Ollimpaxqui Ballet Company.

Daniel Gutierrez died of COVID in 2020.

Eduardo said many of the people on the altar were people he knew. 

“They’re always on our mind and our hearts,” Eduardo said. “That’s why we selected these pieces to remember them.” 

The Day of the Dead is a time to celebrate life, and Eduardo said, he finds some comfort in that.  

“We all know that we’re going to meet someday, we’re going to be with them and we’re just going to keep celebrating life, in another life,” said Eduardo.

Three more altars, also known as ofrendas, are located on the second floor.

Each ofrenda tells a different story of those who have died and periods of time from Pre-Columbian Mexico to the present day. 

Jacobo Dominguez Osorio explains that art installations are a way of connecting people from different backgrounds.

“The cultural, the art and gastronomy helps any relationship between people and countries. It is very important to be able to learn about other cultures,” said Dominguez Osorio in Spanish. 

Dominguez Osorio created several of the papier-mâché artwork and on the third floor, recreating the tradition of Día de los Muertos at a cemetery.

Tombstones are aligned with cempasuchil [marigolds], candles and crosses. 

The exhibit also pays tribute to Mundo Latino’s very own, Cynthia Benavides-Luna. She died in 2014 due to kidney failure but made her mark organizing the exhibit through her own firm, Strategic Events.

Dominguez Osorio recalled Benavides-Luna fondly and said she encompassed what Mundo Latino strives to do, celebrate culture and connect people.

“She organized several events where she promoted Mexican culture, traditions, and customs,” said Dominguez Osorio.

The exhibit will be open throughout the duration of the State Fair of Texas. There will also be activities for individuals to take part in and performances.