We are pleased to announce Daniel Camacho is this year’s Oakland Dia de los Muertos artist of the year!
For more than two decades, the Oakland artist has been instrumental in amplifying community artistry and preserving nuestra cultura (our culture) in Fruitvale.
This year’s art piece, Naturaleza Viva, Raíces del Corazón (Nature Lives, The Roots of the Heart) pays homage to women – the powerhouse that creates life, brings everyone together with love and compassion, and the center of the universe.
Camacho says, “there’s so much sadness right now, and by centering the focus on the curandera [healing woman], her strength and presence is a refreshing reminder that SHE is here to guide those who need love and healing.”
His painting includes a copal, sage, and the cempasúchil flower, traditional holiday elements used in altars that double as healing properties.
When asked who is the curandera in the painting, Camacho said he envisioned his mother who passed away last year. His love for the arts developed from a very young age and jokes he was practically born with a paintbrush in his hand. His mother designed clothes for a living and he was always enamored by the beautiful pieces she designed.
“I look at this painting and I see a powerful woman, a teacher, and an inspiration to me,” said Camacho. “I see my mother.”
Camacho first began involved with the Oakland Dia de los Muertos Festival in 2000, creating the first altar installation ever at the festival. Since then, Camacho has continued to be active in the planning and implementation of the community ofrendas. He also serves as an advisory committee member for the Oakland Museum’s El Dia de los Muertos celebration.
Camacho has a background in Visual Arts from the San Carlos, National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City and Painting and Sculpture at the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico City. He currently teaches Mexican and Latinx art to elementary and middle school students in the Bay Area.