Skulls spotted around San Antonio to celebrate Day of the Dead

Numerous local artists take part in Calavera Exhibit

SAN ANTONIO – Several skulls have been spotted across the city, but you don’t need to be alarmed. The skulls are part of the official celebrations of Day of the Dead in San Antonio.

The Calavera Exhibition features 18 skulls spread throughout 14 public locations, including The Pearl, San Antonio International Airport, Hemisfair and La Villita.

“Definitely walk around (the skull) and take it all in as a whole. You know, even the top part of it, the underside of it,” said Enrique Martínez, who is one of the artists chosen to paint what Day of the Dead means to him.

“It’s about the duality of life and death and on the back of it there’s Mictlantecuhtli, who was the Aztec God of the underworld,” Martínez said. “(I painted) the bones of the dead kind of rising up, and crossing over into the land of the living, on the front side of (the skull).”

Martínez titled his skull, El Paso, which translates to The Passing. He admits the three-dimensional canvas was a challenge.

“I would focus on one side of it and would realize that, ‘oh, my gosh,’ (there’s another side),” Martínez said. “Time seems to slow down when you’re painting, you know, especially doing those detailed, repetitive kind of details.”

Martínez spent long nights during the past five weeks perfecting his piece and taking the time to think about what Day of the Dead means to him.

Martínez said the patterns seen on the front of the skull were inspired by alebrijes. Alebrijes are imaginary, joyful Mexican folk art creatures. (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

“It’s something that my family, we never celebrated it, and like many people, it’s something that came into my understanding more recently with the popularization of the holiday,” Martínez said.

He began researching and gaining more of an appreciation for the celebration that honors the dead about 10 years ago.

“I think, for me, it’s just been about becoming more comfortable with the idea of death and understanding that death is intertwined with life. It’s a part of our evolution as as humans.”

The skulls are available for purchase to help cover the costs of the fabrication, painting and transportation of the skull.

Click here to see the route for Calavera Exhibition and the full list of calaveras.

For more information on this year’s Day of the Dead celebrations and activities for the entire family, click here.


KSAT to host illuminating virtual Day of the Dead River Walk parade Friday evening