Dead Deco is excited to see more and more artists dipping into the Day of the Dead design pool and contributing one-offs. The good side of this is that it creates more variety in the calavera gene-pool. However, there is also a downside to this. More and more artists are creating work that includes Day of the Dead influenced imagery, but it lacks any representation of the actual tradition. Granted, Day of the Dead is a textbook example of simulacrum in a lot of ways; however, what could the future hold if there is no continuation of the historical relationship? Dead Deco does not believe that any sort of exclusive use of the calavera should be reserved or encouraged for one group of artists and not for another, but we definitely get a feeling that something is being lost by the increased dilution of the message.
The image shown at the above left is an example of a well crafted illustration that exemplifies our discussion here. The decoration and color scheme are beautiful and traditional. The blending of Russian and calavera iconography is interesting and exciting. But, the upside down cross gives us pause. While this may be a personal expression of dissatisfaction with Christianity, we wonder why the artist has chosen to include this symbol at all? The Day of the Dead is frequently considered to be a compilation of Catholic and native cultural influences, but it is in no way associated with anti-Christian sentiment. This is not a tradition of anti-Christianity and the inclusion of such iconography as the inverted cross reflects an ignorance on that fact. Where do we draw the line between what is a just decorated skull and what is emblematic of Day of the Dead?
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