Medium: Lithograph on Rives bfk
Dimensions: 30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm)
Classification: Prints and Printing Plates
Credit Line: Gift of Diane Greenlee for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Iowa State University, Christian Petersen Art Museum
Homenaje a Selena (Homage to Selena) pays tribute to the Mexican American singer Selena (Quintanilla Perez), who was killed by a fan in 1995 at the age of 23. Homenaje means "tribute" or "homage." For the Day of the Dead we build altars (homenaje) for family members, and even for a favorite boxer or movie star. This lithograph is really an image about life: Selena is singing and dancing, her mouth open, head thrown back, belting out a song. Her skirt billows as if the emotion of her song is so great it's blown around her. Even the floor undulates with the emotion of her pulsating song.
In Hispanic culture, the skeleton image, calavera, is both personal and cultural. Death is natural, but in America it's considered something to be feared. Most people do anything to pretend it's not happening. In Mexico, it's the other way. The Day of the Dead (October 31-November 2) is a time when the whole country becomes involved in a dialogue with death. Cemeteries are filled with families, candles, food and flowers; people stay all night. We make jokes about death. Our relationship is much more intimate. For us, death is just part of the cycle of life.