Sunday, October 22, 2017

Day of the Dead #8: Ajijic Wall of the Dead for the Living

Muro de Los Muertos by Efren Gonzalez (detail)
In Ajijic, on the wall of a school that faces the San Andres church, there is a giant mural of skulls, what my friend and fellow blogger, Susa Silvermarie calls "a wall of the dead for the living." (Click here to read her post about the wall and the poem she wrote about it.)

Popular, local artist Efren Gonzalez created Muro de Los Muertos as a way to honor ordinary folks. Each skull on the bas-relief plaques are inscribed with the name of the real person to whom it is dedicated.

This mural is one of the many signs that reflect a different cultural view of death than the one I am used to. Death is a highly visible part of life here, perhaps a constant reminder to live, and that everyone and everything will die. While death is taken seriously here, there also seems to be a thread of humor that runs through the relationship of life and death.

Accompanying the long wall of skulls is a poem written by the author in two pieces. Susa, being bi-lingual, translated the poem to the approval of the artist and is sharing it with us here.

Here's the translation in two pieces along with an image of the original:


All that lives will die.
All the good, the bad, will be finished.
All that is strong and all that is weak will have an end.
Everything that breathes in, has to breathe out, to expire.
Everyone who is famous will be forgotten.
Everyone who believes himself indispensable, will perish.
Every creator, the ones who sing, the ones who dance—
those that admire, those that underestimate and criticize—
will stop existing.
And if someone is lucky, they will put his name on the wall 
and thus he will be remembered a little longer.
And they will be sung and danced, or underestimated and criticized, and then,
finally, along with the wall,
they will cease to exist.

Eat, child. Sing, Dance, Love. 
You won’t live forever.
Make art for which you will be remembered.
Do it now, you don’t have much time.
Say what you have to say, even if
you have to shout to be heard.
Fight to defend yourself!
Ask forgiveness, or forgive,
whatever you need to do
to keep going forward
Live.     Live! 


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