The ALTAR OF ANTWERP is inspired on a pre-Columbian tradition, namely before the European colonists reached America. This tradition, for remembering someone whom we have lost and temporarily bringing them back amongst us with an altar, is still especially popular in Mexico. This makes death feel a bit less final and terrifying.
Since the Mestizo Arts Festival 2012, Gerardo Salinas, curator of the Antwerp ALTAR, has been asking 1 among several different artists to add a new layer to the installation each year. Besides that, visitors in and inhabitants of Antwerp are invited to participate by way of workshops.
Thanks to a new group of artists who, in cooperation with the citizens of Antwerp, are working on loss and remembrance, this interactive installation at the MAS has been expanding each year.
The ALTAR helps Antwerp citizens to reflect about who and what is/been important for them, bringing back feelings, moments and loved ones of the past and giving us a feeling that we are still linked to them. In 2017, the ALTAR became a part of the permanent collection of the MAS.
The Altar has been listed as 1 of the 8 ambassadors, in a register of good examples of Immaterial Patrimony in Flanders.
In the catalogue you find information on each layer added each year.
The artist Lucila Guichón has participated several times in the Altar event (performances, installations, workshops). In 2020, she will coordinate the archives, the documentation and the installation of the Altar at the MAS Museum.