I took a trip to Oaxaca Mexico recently to witness the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. I was on the go most of the time, but I did manage to record a few sights in my sketchbook.
These sketches (above) are mostly from Oaxaca City. The Zapotec woman at the bottom was selling pan de muerto which is good for eating or leaving on an ofrenda or altar for the dead and which looks like a regular round loaf with a little angel head sticking out to one side. She carried them in a basket on her head covered with an embroidered cloth. At the top right is a street view looking toward the church of Santo Domingo, along the middle are some chickens and cilantro from a comida counter in the public market, and at the bottom is the inside of the bus heading up to Monte Alban.
A few very quick views around the ancient ruins of Monte Alban and some items on display at the visitor center including a drinking vessel decorated with images crossed bones and a severed hand, and human skulls showing signs of trepanation - holes drilled into the cranium to relieve pressure on the brain. The little girl at the bottom was with a family selling peanits in a market in the town of Ocatlan.
The woman here is Rocio, part of a community of mostly American expats in the town of St. Augustin Etla. I drew her in the dark. On Nov. 1st, Etla holds a comparse or masquerade in which the residents wear costumes made of mirrors and bells that they've spent all year putting together and which can weigh up to 60 lbs. They dance all night with a marching band accompanying them as they go from house to house through the town. Dressed as demons on this night, they are free to speak their minds about anything including the government. They put on little dramas. You can see quick impressions of some of the costumes at the bottom, drawn as we made our way through the crowd looking for a late ride back to Oaxaca. Also here are drawings of statues from an antique shop in the city.