Soon on November 1 and 2, and on these dates all over the world, strange cults, festivals and traditions come back.
Two artists present in our site Paper Art Gallery each realized an artwork that questionned us.
It will be our sweets (Sugar Skul) to us for All Saints' Day and the feast of the dead.
The artwork « Sugar Skul » of Mark Langan is available for purchase.
The artwork « Dessin Vanité» of Valmigot is now in an art lover collection.
The fear of death is embedded in us and each culture tries to conjure it with parodic and ritualized practices.
I feel that death fascinates us and only these practices allow us to hold it in respect even in rational cultures like ours. It is also an example of religious syncretism, as these practices cross several religions.
In Mexico it became a cult with even a saint Santa Muerte. As Octavio Paz wrote so well in The Labyrinth of Solitude, ed. Gallimard, Paris 1972, p. 55-56: "For the people leaving in Paris, New York or London, death is that word that one never utters because it burns the lips. The Mexican, on the other hand, the frequent, the mock, the brave, sleeps with the party, it is one of his favorite amusements and his most faithful love. Certainly, in this attitude, there is perhaps as much fear as in the attitude of other men; but at least the Mexican does not hide from her, nor hide her; he contemplates it face to face with impatience, disdain or irony. "
Mexicans have also created the "Sugar Skull", that are offered to probably soften and tame this state that we are so afraid.
In Western countries Halloween has become almost universal Celtic feast par excellence, she left Ireland, through the United States, where she conquered the world with the help of some major brands.
In an article of 31 October 2012 in the French newspaper Libération, the author says: At the time, the Irish had two fears at this time of year: they feared the three or four months of darkness ahead, before the return of spring, and they also feared that the dead would come out of their graves to take the living with them ... By disguising themselves as corpses, the Irish thought they could deceive the real dead on their account, giving the illusion of being already passed from life to death!
The purpose of Halloween was therefore to stave off death and ward off evil spirits. Here too the children who become the real actors of this inverted party where the parents give up all authority, give sweets while they usually restrict the consumption of these delicacies. This is one of the interesting parallels with the Mexican feast.
I do not know if in the spirit of Valmigot and Marc Langan these artworks were created to conjure, sublimate, and dramatize death, but in any case from the moment these artworks exist they can be interpreted according to our beliefs and our mood.
I will let you admire and comment the artworks, if you'd like.