El Dia de Los Muertos

Community Center Complex and Library, Town of Guadalupe (located only 3 miles from Phoenix), Arizona.
2 panels each 8' X 10' (total 160sf).
Acrylic on canvas.


Niki Glen created two painted murals with students from the Guadalupe Learning Center and the community as a tribute to the Day of the Dead Celebration. The community art project was designed to promote awareness and understanding of the Indio-Hispanic culture and preserve the history of the Yaqui-Mexican community. Glen led residents in creating drawings that were incorporated into the mural. Both murals depict the joyful holiday celebrating life and death, and shows the important traditions of El Dia de Los Muertos traditions that are being lost. The murals validates the holiday, celebrates tradition, and promotes community building within the citizens of Guadalupe. In order to reach as many areas within the community as possible, the murals are portable and easy to transport.

The mural project was inspired by a Harold Macmillan quote: “tradition does not mean the living are dead, it means that the dead are living.”

In the first mural, there is a central with Mayan influence on one side, shows offerings, flowers, people, person graduating… tree of life with elements of daily life intermingled with birds and flowers. The Mayan and Aztec sculptures of the god of death and the goddess of the earth flank the central image. In the second mural, there is a church cemetery courtyard surrounded by life with people, flowers, and offerings; a remembrance of days gone by with grandmother and baby putting flowers on graves.