Amalia Mesa-Bains

An Ofrenda for Dolores Del Rio

An Ofrenda for Dolores del Rio, 1984, revised 1991, mixed media installation including plywood, mirrors, fabric, framed photographs, found objects, dried flowers and glitter.

An Ofrenda for Dolores del Rio draws viewers in with its sumptuous pink fabric, rows of black-and-white pictures, and an arrangement of fanciful objects set in a niche. Mesa-Bains created this work to honor Dolores del Rio, the Mexican actress who dazzled audiences in the United States and Mexico from the 1920s until her death in 1983. The artist retooled the vernacular and domestic practice of the ofrenda (an offering to the deceased) to memorialize a cultural icon whom she and other Chicanas admired. Mesa-Bains implied this relationship through her ample use of mirrors, which reflect and incorporate the viewer into her installation.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, 2013