Celebration of Life

Sugar Skull Art Project Honors and Remembers


Ethan Kessler

Featured Sugar Skull created by junior, Grace Peserik.

The Raymond S. Kellis Library recently displayed colorful ceramic skulls that highlighted both student artistic talent and cultural significance. The featured ceramic skulls were part of the Sugar Skull Project, lead by the Ceramics Teacher, Daisy Maestas. Maestas’ Sugar Skull Project was inspired by the traditions of Mexican and Mexican-American Families who celebrate Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, on the days of October 31st through November 2nd. The three-day celebration encourages families to remember, honor, and show gratitude to their deceased relatives.

Maestas described these days of remembrance as a time “of fellowship and of colorful, joyful celebration, as the living honor their dead.” She also explained that the skulls “represent our deceased, death, and rebirth.”

Maestas shared her newfound connection with the tradition, after unexpectedly losing her grandmother. Although Maestas’ parents came from Mexico, she was not familiar with the tradition, but she learned through the difficult experience of losing her grandmother, that “even in death there is beauty, and all throughout life, there is something inside of these finite creatures that foreshadow the infinite.” She describes our bodies as seeds, “And buried seeds one day give birth to new life.”

Several students participated in the sugar skull project and honored their deceased love ones through the process.

Senior Abby Zumpf, created a sugar skull, titled, “Platinum Skull” that was inspired by her father.

Junior Grace Peserik, named her sugar skull after her grandmother, “Cathy.” Peserik’s skull features frogs, which she described as “my grandmother’s favorite animal.”

Both students had different visions for their skulls, but both students had a family member in mind when they created their artwork. Zumpf’s and Peserik’s artwork was featured in the library, along with the work of other students, and was most recently featured at the RSK Art and Dance Showcase.