Halloween and Day of the Dead are a time of fun, spooky and celebrated traditions. This year on Nov. 5 in Tallahassee there will be a performance piece led by professor and award-winning artist Carrie Ann Baade in Railroad Square. The performance is titled “Ancestral Transmission,” which was created in commemoration of the holiday celebrations and changing season, drawing inspiration from the many celebrations that take place during late October and early November.
Carrie Ann Baade is a painter and professor of painting and drawing at Florida State. She studied art at a variety of schools, eventually receiving her MFA at the University of Delaware. Baade has had over 20 national and international solo exhibits including the Mesa Contemporary Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, the Delaware Contemporary, La Luz de Jesus in Los Angeles and the Ningbo Art Museum in China. Her group shows have also been shown across the world. Over the years, Baade has won awards and prizes for her work. Baade’s work is based on her own life experiences and she channels that into art rich with allegories and narrative.
Day of the Dead and Halloween provide a time of great celebration for honoring those who have passed away during the changing of seasons so often associated with death and change.
Traditionally, those who celebrate Day of the Dead spend the day in remembrance, providing food and flowers to those who passed on. There are also visits with family, prayer and stories of loved ones shared. With COVID-19 this past year, celebrating our lost loved ones has a stronger relevance with our world today. Since death has been such a big part of life the past year, it may be easy to take it more lightly when heard of in the news, but Carrie Ann Baade shows the audience of “Ancestral Transmission” how important it is not to forget how impactful of a time this is.
“Somehow it feels as though this pandemic has reduced the value of each human life and the dead are nothing more than an inconvenience,” said Baade. “This event and its preparation are a deep meditation on the respect for life and death that is part of the cycle of the year and of all Creation.”
Baade and the other event participants, some of which are her own past students, are meant to embrace the belief that they are at a time when spirits can most easily visit the Earth, the time when the veil between the living and the dead is thin.
“If we do our part well, we hope to impart a deeper understanding of the enormity of each individual life,” said Baade.
Often death is looked at in a very sorrowful way, but these celebrations take a more mixed approach. The performance piece is an experience of remembrance and commemoration for the departed people of both the audience members and those not there through a creative lens inspired by decades long traditions.
Interestingly enough, the performance is not so strictly bound by the celebrations being used as they are only a guide for inspiration which is different from many other events that normally take place around this time, choosing a specific theme based on specific holiday celebrations. This provides a unique difference that can enrich the artistic twist that the performance will be taking on the holidays.
The performance “takes a little from different cultures and we will be creating our own multiple part ritual and ceremony, that the public are welcome to interact with and to ponder the value of life and those who came before them,” said Baade.
According to her, since it is an experience-based piece, the best way to understand more is to attend the events. Based on Baade’s conversation, the culturally-inspired piece will be, while not the ordinary Halloween or Day of the Dead event, interesting performance art by one of FSU’s very own professors meant to take a closer look at the joy and celebration of the memory of people’s lost loved ones.