Honouring Grief and Transitions
Between Life and Death
Ofrenda Memorial Altar celebrating Dia de Los Muertos
at Willingdon Beach, November 2 - 5 to 8 pm
Community Supported Dying Workshop
November 21 - 1 to 3 pm
ArtRaven Family Drop In Lantern & Print Making
November 20 - 1 to 3 pm
Talking Stick Workshops & Ceremony
Welcome to the 2021 Memento Mori Festival
We are celebrating the 5th year of honouring grief and the transitions between life and death.
Join artists Cyndi Pallen, Claudia Medina, Anna Byrne, Julia Adam and Laurie Norman, who are collectively engaging the community into conversations around living well and dying well.
The Memento Mori Festival is supported by the BC Arts Council, the Province of BC, Powell River & Region Transition House Society, Lift, and the PR Arts Council.
Please see the
schedule of events below.
Schedule of Events
5 to 8pm
This community ofrenda is influenced by the Days of the Dead/Xantolo tradition of Mexico. There, households commonly set up an altar space to welcome their loved ones returning from “el otro lado/Mictlan”, the other side/realm of the dead. During these days our dearly departed are met with their favourite foods, drinks, and special objects so that they can feel connected to the land of the living.
Traditionally, the altar has flowers, especially marigolds, or cempoalxochitl, with a potent scent that attracts the spirits. We place a cup of water to quench the thirst of the spirits who have travelled so far, and candles to light their way. Incense, especially copal, is burned to cleanse the air of negative energy and make the spirits feel at home. Papel picado, the decorative coloured paper represents the element of air, which the spirits use to travel into the land of the living. Food, especially fruits and chocolate represent earth, the place where we grow our sustenance. In this way, the ofrenda holds the elements fire, air, water and earth, the fundamentals to life (and death) on this planet. Photos of our loved ones are placed on the altar, so that we can remember and honour their lives. These are days of joy, sadness, love and honouring, reminding us that we are all a part of the cycle of death and birth that makes each moment so precious.
The ofrendas are personal expressions of love created in a home, as well as a collective honouring of family and ancestors when they are created in public spaces. Our grief is personal, and yet our experience of grief and our own mortality is universal. We come together to share our personal grief and love for our loved ones who have left this world, knowing that we are connected through these cycles of life and death.
Tlazohcamati – Thank you, Claudia Medina.
Community Supported Dying
Workshop - November 21, from 1 to 3 pm
Anna Byrne, Julia Adam and Laurie Norman
will lead this workshop on community supported dying.
You are invited to hear Mary's story and learn about Community Supported Dying. In January 2020, Mary Morgan asked a small group of friends to support her dying process. Mary, 64, had received a terminal cancer diagnosis and wanted to die at home. The onset of covid 19 left us scrambling to adjust our plans to support her.
Over the next year, Mary's dying emerged as a true community-based dying process.
This workshop is free to the public.
Please register and please bring your vaccine passport.
Masks are mandatory.
ArtRaven Family Drop In Lantern & Print Making
1 to 3 pm
Art Raven Family Monthly Drop In
is fun, free, family programming at
The Art Centre, for more details check out Education in the website menu.
Talking Stick Workshop & Ceremony
Cyndi Pallen, MSW (Chennay) of Powell River & Region Transition House
will be facilitating this Talking Stick Workshop and Ceremony.
The Art Centre Public Gallery is hosting a Talking Stick workshop, which is a practice of Indigenous Peoples. This experience will give voice to individuals and support in bringing light to oneself. Some of the Talking Stick internal work will be working through losses, trauma or unresolved life experiences. This process will work towards caring for oneself in a good way.
The Talking Stick is used in Indigenous culture and is an ancient and powerful “communication tool” that requires a code of conduct of respect during a meeting. These Talking Stick Workshops and Ceremony will be a part of the Memento Mori Festival on grief and dying and a Community Ofrenda, which is a cultural practice of Mexico. Memento Mori is Latin for “remember you will die” and this festival supports the celebration of life and diverse cultural practices to help us transform grief and loss together.
The Talking Stick Ceremony will represent truth, freedom, wisdom and keen insight, of working within ourselves to clear various life experiences and it will be an uplifting experience for many.
Please note: this work is a part of the annual Memento Mori Festival at The Art Centre Public Gallery, and supports the teaching of various cultural practices. We ask everyone to be mindful and present, with no judgement of one another. We are working to build a safe place to share knowledge and various forms of positive practices in the world.
Workshop and Ceremony registration details will be available soon.