Consuelo Flores’s ofrenda in Grand Park in downtown L.A. memorializing students at the Ayotzinapa Rural College for Teachers, as well as her parents and brother, Benjamin. Image courtesy of Consuelo Flores.

And there we built an altar: creating community through remembrance

with Consuelo Flores and Jane Wong
Online Event
Saturday, June 25, 2022
10:00 am – 11:30 am

Across religions, altars are designated thresholds where offerings are made to God. Think of the early altars of Noah, Abraham, and Moses, or the high altar at St. Peter’s Basilica, or consider the everlit altars of Hindu family’s homes in India, or the ornate wooden cabinets which house Buddah statues and offerings across Asia. In contemporary life, informal altars appear in unexpected places: on crowded sidewalks, in the storefronts of restaurants or as memorial sites. These artifacts of offering, memorialization, and celebration serve as meeting places for diverse communities and remind us of the ways in which devotion touches on everyday life.

During this event, we will hear from two artists on this topic: Consuelo Flores and Jane Wong. Flores will discuss the history, tradition, and community around altar-making through Self Help Graphics’s Day of the Dead celebration and its impact in Los Angeles. Flores says “People die three deaths. First, when life leaves the body, second when the body itself is no longer visible, and is buried or cremated, and the third death occurs the day when the dead are forgotten. We don’t want our dead to be forgotten.”

Wong will discuss her recent show at the Frye Museum After Preparing the Altar, the Ghosts Feast Feverishly and read selections of her poetry. Seeking to honor her family, ancestors, loved ones, and all that sustains life in an otherwise fraught world through writing, Wong implores us to become more attuned to our shared histories.