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Day of the Dead

November 2, 2013 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 pm

Day of the Dead logo

Final Fling held its first Day of the Dead festival on 2 Nov 2013. A small but perfectly formed celebration of life and death it included art, chat and a bit of pop-up drumming. See our photos on Flickr.

Thanks for the support of Gallery of Modern Art and Glasgow Life, Battersea Arts Centre and Good Life Good Death Good Grief.

One of the works – Death Rattle – was re-presented at the Glasgow International Festival by our own Nic Scrutton, Head of Noise and queen of social media and sound. Listen in.

Below is a record of the various events.

SAT 26 OCT- SUN 1 DEC10am-5pm Mon-SunFREE – no booking required

HearAfter :: Nichola Scrutton

Day of the Dead hearafter

Sound artist Nichola Scrutton presented HearAfter, a sound installation in Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art. Nic used the human voice – words and sounds – to create a contemplative and immersive sound installation inspired by life cycles, memory, and the process of decay.

Supported by GOMA and Glasgow Life

Unburden (Saying the Unsaid) :: Adrian Howells

Day of the Dead unburden

Nourishing one-to-one performances… an intimate, conversational exchange in a special environment. Adrian invited visitors ‘home’ to engage with the idea of unburdening: “get something off your chest” and “wipe the slate clean”. He invited participants to take part in a small, symbolic ‘cleansing’ ritual. “You get to explore the unsaid in life and to share some of your own unsaid thoughts and feelings.”

Commissioned by and developed at Battersea Arts Centre. Performances there in November.

Shrine workshop with Greer Pester

Day of the Dead shrine

Artist Greer Pester worked with novices to create a takeaway shrine. A reflective and creative workshop. Greer was funded by Creative Scotland last year to travel across north and south America exploring death rituals and traditions.

One of the participants Marie said: “Thank you too for such a wonderful workshop. We had such fun and talked about it all the way home and even started planning on how to create an outdoor shrine for our Grandmother in the graveyard next year. On Sunday I took my shrines round to show my Mother and neices who are aged 11 and 7. I told them all about your experiences, the party like atmosphere, the celebration, the death plates and we had a really lovely discussion about remembering people and celebrating their lives. Needless to say they want to come to next years workshop too!

Having not made anything for a very long time, I felt it took me a little while to get going – to loosen up and just let myself have fun with the materials and the process. It has made me very aware of how important play and creation is and the fact that I don’t have enough of it in my life.

To be honest I was a little aprehensive having never taken a workshop like that before but I enjoyed the experience so much, that I would actively look for more things to do. You were very encouraging and welcoming. So long story short, Thank you for a lovely day and I hope you do another one next year.”

Death Rattle

Day of the Dead death rattle

Erin Scrutton composed Death Rattle especially for Day of the Dead. Atmospheric percussion built to a crescendo that drew crowds in the city centre under the portico of the Gallery on Royal Exchange Square. Erin started the women’s drumming movement in Scotland 21 years ago and has composed for and led women’s community bands across Scotland.

Death Cafe

Day of the Dead death cafe

Final Fling’s Death Cafe is a small friendly gathering to talk about life and death in an open way… with a cuppa and cake. With Barbara Chalmers, Founder of Final Fling and Erin Scrutton.

Supported by Good Life, Death, Grief

The Charnel House with Dougie Strang


The Charnel House explores human/animal relationships. A series of lightbox installations – among them the bones of roadkill animals – with an audio soundscape by the singer Mairi Campbell. The Charnel House is a wooden structure built mostly from recycled and scavenged materials. Viewers are invited inside one at a time and are encouraged to interact with the ‘in-house animal’ in a playful but thoughtful way. Perfect for Hallowe’en.

Previously this year, Charnel House was invited to be part of the Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire and the Uncivilisation Festival in Hampshire. Persephone Pearl, director of Feral Theatre, and a Final Fling associate, described it as a “beautiful, strangely intimate experience; a moving articulation of loss.”

Mexican Day of the Dead

Death Ritual 1

Day of the Dead is a huge festival that takes place across Mexico on 2 November every year. It’s not the scary, dark festival that our Hallowe’en is, but a bright, celebratory festival, remembering and honouring the dead.

Day of the dead_COLOUR_medium

Dia de los Muertos, as it’s known in Mexico, takes place on All Soul’s Day, 2 November each year. It’s one of the most stunning festivals in the world, marked by flamboyant colour and a cheerful honouring of those gone before. It is celebrated in several Latin American countries and is a national holiday in Mexico. People go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed. Graves are cleaned and freshly decorated with ‘ofrendas’ (offerings) and Mexican marigolds – thought to attract souls. Toys and candies are left for dead children, and food and drink are left for adult dead. ‘Cavaleras de azucar’, (sugar skulls) are one of the main treats. Offerings, pillows and blankets are left at home as a welcome for spirits so that they can rest after their journey. ‘Cavaleras’ also refer to poetry – epitaphs for the dead that often mock the living – and to art featuring skeletons and skulls. The work of artist Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) is a major influence on the Day of the Dead. One of the most popular figures in in the Day of the Dead celebrations is Posada’s female skeleton ‘La Cavalera Catrina’, (The Elegant Skull). A cartoonist and satirist, he made fun of the ruling classes and showed death as a leveller.

Here’s a wee taste of some of the events.

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Day of the Dead death rattle DotD11 DotD12


November 2, 2013
9:00 am - 10:00 pm
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Final Fling


Gallery of Modern Art
Royal Exchange Square
Glasgow, United Kingdom
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