In Mexico, día de muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated over an entire week with the preparation of altars, food, dance, music and special offerings for people who have died. Today, the Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico and anywhere Mexicans carry the tradition forward. For more than a decade, Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture without Borders has created a community altar in the cemetery and churchyard of St. Mark’s Church-on-the-Bowery. The public can take part in altar building, flower-making workshops, dance, poetry and music to preserve the essence of this indigenous ritual.

Portraits from the Underworld/Retratos del Inframundo is an ongoing interactive project which has evolved over time. This project documents community engagement with the meaning of this day through writing and photography. Individuals symbolically enter Mictlán, the place of the dead and departed, by writing poetry for the dead and/or having their photo taken wearing skull make-up art. Many people opt to read their poem or have their portrait taken in front of the community altar.

2013 Calaveras de Montón, face painting/portraits

2012 Portraits from the Underworld, face painting/portraits

2011 Poetry for the Dead, Spanish, Nahuatl, English public poetry workshop

2010 The Photo Booth Without Borders, Spanish and English poetry workshop/portraits

2009 Calaveritas, Spanish and English public poetry workshop