On the Path of Marigolds

Living Traditions of Mexico's Day of the Dead

Ann Murdy

One of the most enduring portrayals of Mexico's famous Day of the Dead ceremony!
Date Published :
October 2019
Publisher :
George F Thompson Publishing
Contributor(s) :
Denise Chávez, Cesáreo Moreno
Illustration :
90 color photographs by the author
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781938086724
Pages : 176
Dimensions : 11.5 X 10 inches
Stock Status : In stock


2021 Southwest Book Design Awards Best Photography/Art Book, Best Bilingual, and Best in Show for a hardcover book (New Mexico Book Association)2019 Winner of the Gold Medal for Best Multicultural Book of the Year Foreword INDIES AwardFinalist for Best Art Book of the Year from Latino Literacy Now's 2020 International Latino Book AwardsHonorable Mention for the Best Arts Book category of the International Latino Book AwardsFinalist for Best Multicultural book of the year award from the annual New Mexico/Arizona book awardsOne of the most enduring portrayals of Mexico's famous Day of the Dead ceremony.

Photographer Ann Murdy has been documenting the celebrations around Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) in Mexico for more than twenty years. A native of Los Angeles, she first started collecting Chicano art in the 1990s and was drawn to Mexico by the vibrancy of its culture and traditions. She loved the rich colors she found everywhere such as the flowers adorning the ofrendas or altars to the dead to the dusky yellow of the marigolds lining pathways leading to the ofrendas in both private homes and cemeteries.

As Murdy’s hauntingly beautiful images show, in Mexico death is considered a part of life and something to be celebrated rather than feared. El día de los muertos (which actually lasts two days on November 1–2) is a time to gather with friends and families to feast, pray, dance, and honor the lives of those who have died. From the preparation of the food and flowers to the sanctification of the public and private spaces, to the ceremony itself, Murdy captures the spirit, beauty, and magic of this sacred observance.

On the Path of Marigolds features ninety of Murdy’s most stunning images of celebrations from three villages—Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Huaquechua in Puebla, and the communities around Lake Pátzcuaro in Michoacán—along with a conversation between her and Cesáro Moreno, Director of Visual Arts and Chief Curator of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, and an essay by Mexican-American writer Denise Chávez.

About The Author

Ann Murdy is a photographer based in Santa Fe, NM. Her work has been shown at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, IL, the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica, CA, and Museo Chicano in Phoenix, AZ, among others. Her photo collages are a part of the permanent collection at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City.

Denise Chavez is a performance artist, novelist, and teacher whose work celebrates the border corridor of southern New Mexico, West Texas, and northern Mexico. Her novel, Face of an Angel (1994) won the American Book Award and her The King and Queen of Comezón (2014) won the 2015 International Latino Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for fiction.

Cesáreo Moreno has been the visual arts director of the National Museum of Mexican Art since 1995, and was named the museum’s first full-time curator in 2004. Moreno has conducted research on the Mexican holdings of museums throughout Mexico and the U.S. He has curated and/or coordinated numerous exhibitions, and served as a juror and panelist for numerous groups including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.


“These stunning photographs of the Days of the Dead celebrations of the central Mexican heartlands are a meditation and an ofrenda, an offering to readers to participate in an ancient and colorful tradition. The palette of yellows and orange of the marigold/cempasúchitl, and the chiaroscuro tones of death and points of candle light draw us into the world of returning spirits.”

- Journal of Folklore Research

“Ann Murdy looks at worlds rarely seen and peoples rarely photographed, and we are all the better for it. She has dedicated her life and her considerable talents to showing us the ceremonies and devotions of the people of rural México. She brings a caring and sensitive lens to her subjects; she holds an honest mirror to their devotions. This is very important work not just for now, but for years and centuries to come.”

- Steve Northup, former photographer for UPI, The Washington Post, and TIME Magazine

“Ann Murdy’s photographs delight the sense of sight and are also a virtual ‘scratch and sniff’ of Day of the Dead traditions across México. One enjoys the tempting scents of fresh-baked pan de muerto breads and tortillas, sweet and savory mole, as well as potent wafts of copal incense and pungent cempasuchitl flowers. On the Path of Marigolds takes the armchair visitor not only to public spheres in markets and cemeteries, but deep within personal and profoundly moving familiar rituals that take place in private homes. The depth of Murdy’s works is sure to enlighten for years to come.”

- Rebecca D. Meyers, Permanent Collection Curator, National Museum of Mexican Art

“Ann Murdy, having traveled to the same communities in México for more than twenty years, offers readers an intimate glimpse into the Day of the Dead traditions. Her striking photographs document the varied aesthetics and spiritual practices of three different villages with sensitivity and skill. Through her images, she shares her own quest to understand better and foster appreciation for these age-old traditions and their contemporary expressions.”

- Joyce Ice, Ph.D., Former Director, Museum of International Folk Art

“Ann Murdy’s images are a unique portal into one of México’s most emotional and compelling events. . . . Viva!”

- Ray Dewey, Founder of Dewey Galleries

On the Path of Marigolds is an intimate look at how people honor those who passed on in villages of México. Every photograph has a story reaching back centuries.”

- Tom Aageson, Executive Director of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation

“Ann Murdy's award-winning book shares photos of the celebration in rural areas of Michoacán, Oaxaca and Puebla. […] For almost 30 years, United States-based photographer Ann Murdy has been visually documenting the Day of the Dead across Mexico. Now, her new book on the holiday is attracting worldwide acclaim.”

- Rich Tenorio, Mexico News Daily

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