SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio will soon celebrate its first ever Dia de Los Muertos river parade, and starting this weekend ,you may see some life-sized skulls on display throughout La Villita and the Pearl.
The display is part of an inaugural project with the theme "Celebration of Life."
A team of eight artists is creating the Day of the Dead skulls, including contemporary artist Andy Benavides.
"I had this interest in covering this whole thing in mirrors," Benavides said. "It wasn't going to practical for the scale of it. It was going to require 20,000 mirrors. There wasn't a vendor in town that could get me that many mirrors."
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Benavides said his initial thought for his piece, "regalo" or "gift" in English, was for it be covered in mirrors. He then decided to make it appear that it was covered in tiles.
"On many levels, it was a gift to the ancestral memories, as well as a literal gift to the city," Benavides said.
The life-size fiberglass skulls were brought in from Mexico..
"It took me back to my grandmother's backyard," Benavides said. "Whether it was there or not, I remember a tile-covered skull, which was a folk-art piece, and that's where it took off."
Another local artist, Cristina Noriega, titled her piece "La Lucha Sigue" or "the fight continues," which is a memorial to Emma Tenayuca. Noriega said her grandmother was a pecan sheller, so the piece had a personal meaning as well.
Benavides said being a part of the inaugural project with the team of artists is an honor.
"Anytime I get an opportunity like this, I take it," Benavides said. "Because it's public information, it's celebrating our culture. It's all the right things and all the beautiful qualities of what our city is about, what we're about culturally."
Benavides said in addition to the eight skulls worked on in San Antonio, there will be eight more produced by artists in Mexico City.