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LA artist creates vibrant tribute to Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos offers Latinos a chance to honor the life of deceased loved ones through vibrant and artistic tributes of devotion and love. 

Los Angeles artist Lily Martinez showcases her dedication to the celebration in her own creative way. She creates iconic “Catrina” dolls, which have been getting the attention of Angelenos. 

The Catrinas that Martinez creates are influenced by her Mexican American culture. Her profound love for Los Angeles and Mexico is evident through the vibrant colors of makeup, traditional Oaxacan floral headpieces and modern Dodgers “Catrina” dresses.

Drawing from her background in the toy and fashion industry, she infuses each piece with sewing and stitching details using fluorescent colors, giving life to the dead. Martinez had an exhibition with her Catrina dolls on display in Pico Hall on Olvera Street for two weekends and attracted an estimated 6,000 guests.  

The exhibit also showcased the “Sacred Heart” dress designed for and worn by Vanessa Bryant. The dress carefully integrates symbols paying tribute to the late Kobe and Gianna Bryant, including the colors purple and gold and a basketball serving as a crown.

She revealed that in her family’s home, Día de los Muertos was less prominent compared to Halloween. But once Martinez attended the annual Día de los Muertos celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with her family in 2014, her life underwent a profound transformation. 

“Being in such a peaceful space, it was just beautiful, and I was like, ‘Why wouldn’t I want to feel that joy again?’” she said. Martinez’s artistic eye saw an abundance of color, light and symbolism, inspiring her  to celebrate her country’s traditions.  She has since dedicated her creativity to sharing that light with Angelenos. 

This exhibit has concluded for the year, but Martinez promised that more Catrinas will be unveiled during her next exhibit  in September 2024.

For Martinez, her connection to Día de los Muertos and Mexican culture is more than just a passion; it’s a deep-rooted tie. “The opportunity to explore this tradition in the holiday just reinforced how beautiful our culture is,” Martinez said.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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