Toni Beatty
About This Work
My first experience with the Mexican view of death happened in 1977 when my husband Larry Walsh and I were living in Tepoztlan, a village south of Mexico City.  Our neighbor Dona Juana invited us to a picnic for the Day of the Dead (el Dia de los Muertos) in nearby Amecameca.  Little did we realize that the picnic was literally to be held on the graves of her parents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The Day of the Dead is not a solemn affair.  Rather, it is a celebration where families come to clean and decorate the graves of their departed with bright orange flowers and offerings that range from small samples of the departed’s favorite food and brand of beer or tequila, as well as trinkets, skulls and skeletons made from sugar, and toys for deceased children.
As we picnicked sitting on her family’s graves, Dona Juana told us humorous incidents about the dead, as well as telling the dead amusing stories about the living and other village gossip.  On this day there was no clear separation between death and life.
The images collected here are digitally manipulated photographs of grave offerings in the Americas and Europe.  Graveyards are not merely places where people place their loved-ones into the hands of God.  They are places where we explore the borderlands between life and death.  We bring offerings, tokens of love and grief.  We come in hope that an afterlife exists.
This sampling of my work is printed on metal to better reflect the luminescence and vivid colors described by people who have experienced the frontier into those spiritual, surreal domains.

 

 

 

  • Toni Beatty digitally manipulated photographs on metal on metal
  • photographer