Fulgencio Lazo is a Zapotec/Mixtec artist based in Seattle and his hometown of Oaxaca, Mexico. For more than 26 years he has been working with museums, art centers and community groups to create “tapetes” or carpets of colored sand for Mexican Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. These installations are collaboratively designed and installed with community members over the course of several days. Lazo has had more than 50 solo shows throughout the United States, Mexico, and Japan and is represented by galleries in Oaxaca, Mexico City, Monterrey and Valle de Bravo. In Seattle, where he has lived since 1990, he is most known for his tireless work to create programs and spaces that are inclusive and reflect diverse audiences. He has co-founded some of Seattle’s most iconic traditions within the Latino community, including Seattle’s annual Oaxacan celebration known as Guelaguetza, International Children’s Day, and the Day of the Dead celebrations at many venues, including the Seattle Art Museum. Most recently he co-founded Studio Lazo, an organization of artists and community members creating a welcoming venue that especially showcases the creativity of Latino artists, writers and musicians.  

Lazo will work with U-M students and community members to design and create two tapetes, one in the RC Art Gallery within East Quadrangle, located at 701 E. University Ave., and one at the Ann Arbor District Library at 343 South Fifth Ave. The tapete at AADL will be made in collaboration with local community members and U-M students who participate in the program Proyecto Avance: Latino Mentorship Association (PALMA). In addition, he will deliver lectures on Día de Los Muertos and his art. The first will be on 10/1 12-1pm, in room B852 in East Quadrangle, and the second will be later that day from 6-6:30-pm at the 4th floor Meeting Room at the Downtown Ann Arbor District Library.

There will be an opening reception at the RC Art Gallery, October 4th from 6-8pm, and attendees will have the opportunity to contribute ofrendas, or drawings, writings and paper flowers to a wall of remembrance installation for loved ones who have passed in celebration of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The tapete and Día de los Muertos ofrendas will be on display to the public through October 18th. Similarly, the tapete and ofrendas wall be on view at the Ann Arbor District Library through November 2nd. 

You can see how a tapete comes together in this video from an installation he led in Tieton, Washington in 2015.

“While I hope Oaxacan traditions will be illuminated I also aspire to transcend this provisional culture and convey universal emotions. It is of great satisfaction to me when the viewer finds his or her own meaning in my work. In fact, I firmly believe that if I am successful I shouldn’t need to explain anything about my work, but rather it should speak for itself. In terms of the tapete or sand painting, I hope the viewer will get an understanding not only of how we remember those who have passed away but also just how important it is to remember. Through the process of making the tapete we pay tribute to the  deceased; carefully molding the sand, forming lines and figures, and meticulously applying the pigments.” 

For more information about Fulgencio and his art, visit fulgenciolazoart.com

The RC community looks forward to welcoming Fulgencio to Ann Arbor for this exciting collaborative opportunity.