FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno Pacific University and The Fresno Arts Council debuted a new exhibit titled, “La Catrina” on Thursday evening.

The exhibit features thirteen photographs by Marcos Dorado that depict three distinct Catrinas modeled by Ms. Lupe Lopez, each with its own inspiration and meaning that were created over the past three years.

One Catrina showcases a spiritual connection, as Lupe interprets La Catrina as one who oversees the departed. Representing a connection between our indigenous ancestors and us. A second Catrina showcases period fashion and Mexican culture. While a third is a link to Mexican history and an homage to Las Adelitas, the women that served in the Mexican Revolution.

'La Catrina' exhibit aims for a better understanding of an icon

Dorado shared with us what he hopes visitors will take away from their visit to the exhibit.

“What I would like people to take away is a better understanding for who this character is. All of a sudden she has become so popular. But a lot of people don’t understand where the glamour comes from and what the world Catrina even means. So all together, I think they can come in and appreciate something that is uniquely Mexican, and come away with a deeper understanding of what the history of this Mexican icon is.”

-Marcos Dorado, photographer/creator of “La Catrina” exhibit

La Catrina has become the emblematic figure of the modern-day Dia de Muertos. But her origins are often still misunderstood. Her white paint and glamor are traces of a Mexico that listens to Aztec mythology. But also has its roots in 19th-century political and social satire. Although there is no one way to interpret the character, in this exhibit, visitors can gain a better appreciation of this icon and find a link to Mexican culture through historical context.

Lopez, who has portrayed the character for the last four years, says she has gained such an appreciation and respect for La Catrina and that she looks forward to continuing to find different ways to showcase her. She is currently working with a designer to create a new outfit for a future portrayal of the character.

In seeing the photographs, the dresses, and the model in the same space it’s easy to see how much life Lopez’s energy brings to the photographs impressing even donors that made this exhibit possible through The Fresno Arts Council.

Image provided by Photographer Marcos Dorado

The exhibit runs through mid-November at Dr. Merrill & Priscilla Ewert Gallery inside the brand-new Warkentine Culture and Arts Center on the campus of Fresno Pacific University.