ONTARIO, Oregon — The Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario brought back it’s Día de los Muertos art exhibit after canceling the event last year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Traditional elements, photographs, paper-made cempazúchil also known as marigolds, and ofrendas meaning offerings filled one of the rooms at the cultural center.
Ontario city council member Eddie Melendrez set up an altar to honor his family members and people that made an impact on his life that have passed away.
“My boxing coaches from California, my grandparents, my sister who recently passed away, in late June. She passed away from cancer and it was really hard because we were really close,” Melendrez said.
Melendrez has a passion for art so created a painting to pay tribute to his sister.
The cultural center invited community members to create an altar and honor their loved ones and have it displayed as part of the exhibit.
“It’s part of our mission. Our mission transformative experiences through diversity and culture and this is a really good way to do that,” said Allison Simon, program and outreach director at Four Rivers Cultural Center.
The Día de los Muertos exhibit will run until November 15. Melendrez said he’s been participating in setting up an altar for a few years to remember his lost loved ones and hopes to continue the tradition.
“Since growing up all the way until I was like 30 something I never did an ofrenda, didn’t know what it was about, or what it meant, but it felt good to reconnect with our past. Because my wife always talked about a tradition that she used to with her family and in my family, we didn't have a lot of traditions and this is one, hopefully this one, I can start with my daughter,” Melendrez said.