City of Souls: Día de los Muertos 2019
SOMArts, October 11–November 8, 2019
Now in its 20th year, SOMArts’ Dia de Los Muertos exhibition is one of the most internationally diverse Day of the Dead celebrations in the United States. Over the decades, this group exhibition has brought together a wide variety of perspectives to honor, remember, and celebrate the dead.
This year’s exhibition features special altar structures to honor and manifest founding curator’s Rene Yañez’ vision for his final Dia de Los Muertos exhibition titled “City of Souls”, a reference to his 2001 exhibition “City of Miracles”. Curated by Rio Yañez and Carolina Quintanilla, the exhibit realizes the late founder’s dream of a living city of lights that honors the dead.
Key Dates & Information
Friday, October 11, 6–9pm : Opening Reception
Friday, November 8, 6–9pm : Closing Reception
Mara is one of the artists participating in this meaningful group show. Her altar installation titled "Tent City of Souls" is in honor of deceased homeless members of our community.
I have created an altar installation titled "Tent City of Souls" in honor of Perry Foster, one of the nearly 400 people who have died on the streets of San Francisco since 2016.
When I learned how many homeless people die each year, I wanted to learn more about their stories. I searched for facts about their lives, but discovered that there is barely any information available. Homeless people often remain anonymous, invisible. I came across an article by KQED journalist Dan Brekke about Perry Foster, a man who had died of a drug overdose in 2018. Perry, also known as Parree, was a charismatic individual, full of potential. He was considered a football prodigy in High School and was granted a scholarship for the University of Michigan. He was planning on studying psychology and criminal law. Several factors led Perry away from sports and academics and eventually onto the streets of San Francisco.
I reached out to Dan and he gave me further information. I learned that Perry wanted to write a column about his experiences on the streets of San Francisco and was looking for an editor. He had posted some articles and comments about his struggles and successes publicly on social media. He wanted to be heard and make a difference. He had an original voice: uncompromising and strong. He was observant, reflective and often humorous.
I have included a space in the altar where visitors can hear the KQED piece about Perry, and can read printouts of Perry's public blog and Facebook entries. I have also included a portrait of Perry Foster. Traditional paintings are often reserved for the wealthy or famous, but every person has a story. I hope I was able to capture a likeness and convey my admiration for this beautiful, complex human being.
Please come inside and take some time to get to know Perry Foster, gone too soon.