On the Path of Marigolds: Living Traditions of Mexico's Day of the Dead

Ann Murdy (Author) Denise Chávez (Other)
& 1 more


Winner of the 2019 Foreword INDIES "Book of the Year" Award

Photographer Ann Murdy has been documenting the celebrations around Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) in Mexico for more than twenty years. A native of Los Angeles, she first started collecting Chicano art in the 1990s and was drawn to Mexico by the vibrancy of its culture and traditions. She loved the rich colors she found everywhere such as the flowers adorning the ofrendas or altars to the dead to the dusky yellow of the marigolds lining pathways leading to the ofrendas in both private homes and cemeteries.

As Murdy's hauntingly beautiful images show, in Mexico death is considered a part of life and something to be celebrated rather than feared. El día de los muertos (which actually lasts two days on November 1-2) is a time to gather with friends and families to feast, pray, dance, and honor the lives of those who have died. From the preparation of the food and flowers to the sanctification of the public and private spaces, to the ceremony itself, Murdy captures the spirit, beauty, and magic of this sacred observance.

On the Path of Marigolds features ninety of Murdy's most stunning images of celebrations from three villages--Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Huaquechua in Puebla, and the communities around Lake Pátzcuaro in Michoacán--along with a conversation between her and Cesáro Moreno, Director of Visual Arts and Chief Curator of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, and an essay by Mexican-American writer Denise Chávez.

Product Details

$45.00  $40.50
George F Thompson Publishing
Publish Date
October 03, 2019
10.2 X 0.7 X 11.9 inches | 3.25 pounds
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About the Author

Ann Murdy is a photographer based in Santa Fe, NM. Her work has been shown at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, IL, the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica, CA, and Museo Chicano in Phoenix, AZ, among others. Her photo collages are a part of the permanent collection at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City.
Denise Chavez is a performance artist, novelist, and teacher whose work celebrates the border corridor of southern New Mexico, West Texas, and northern Mexico. Her novel, Face of an Angel (1994) won the American Book Award and her The King and Queen of Comezón (2014) won the 2015 International Latino Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for fiction.
Cesáreo Moreno has been the visual arts director of the National Museum of Mexican Art since 1995, and was named the museum's first full-time curator in 2004. Moreno has conducted research on the Mexican holdings of museums throughout Mexico and the U.S. He has curated and/or coordinated numerous exhibitions, and served as a juror and panelist for numerous groups including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.


"These stunning photographs of the Days of the Dead celebrations of the central Mexican heartlands are a meditation and an ofrenda, an offering to readers to participate in an ancient and colorful tradition. The palette of yellows and orange of the marigold/cempasúchitl, and the chiaroscuro tones of death and points of candle light draw us into the world of returning spirits."--Journal of Folklore Research