Continuing Traditions: The Significance of Dia de los Muertos
by Tabitha Baylor
Cal Duran of Denver, CO joined our Dia de los Muertos session to share colorful snapshots of his ofrendas as well as his insights for taking time and making space for those who passed before us. With over 17 years of creating community ofrendas, Cal brought a wealth of knowledge from both his own experience as well as wisdom from his mentor Rita Flores.
Elders & Animals!
Pictured with his mentor Rita Flores, Cal told us he visited with his 92 year old elder each week prior to their collaboration on the large ofrenda behind them. This type of connection with elders is important for everyone, he shared with us. Animals too share a special space with us, and his final ofrenda of the 2023 season is in memory of a beloved giraffe at the Denver Zoo, who passed away earlier this year.
Visit this photo and others at Cal’s website & on Instagram!
Featured speaker: Colorado Artist Cal Duran
Cal Duran is a seasoned Front Range artist who has built altars, installations, and artwork featured in museums and galleries throughout the Denver Metro area and beyond. He continues to honor his ancestors and recently created a room at Meow Wolf, Denver, honoring the indigenous tribes of Colorado and the Americas. He understands the importance of land acknowledgment honoring all the Earth tribes across the globe and the indigenous lineages down his blood line.
He is a Queer, Two Spirit, Indigenous, Native, Mixed blood, Latinx, Manito, Mestizo, Chicanx, Indian Artist, and Arts Educator from Colorado. Art has been a portal to channel his indigenous ancestors, where he slips under an emotional spinning vortex of creation. The makers of his blood flow through him. He channels the artisans, craft-makers, mud-dwellers, star-makers, dream-weavers and earth-brothers, and sisters, those who paved the way and forged the path. His work carries spirit and his truth is in everything he creates. He has roots that bridge India, Mexico and the natives of this land. He finds himself exploring parallels between his hybrid identities found in myth, religion, and ritual.
As a youth educator, Cal understands how important art is for our next generation in creating safe spaces and helping youth find their voice. He is honored to weave a his vision of ancestral knowledge in order to guide others as they seek to reconnect to ancestors, create altars and remember where they came from. He gives gratitude and love to everyone working hard to create a world full of love, joy and creativity.