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An Ofrenda for Dolores del Rio

1984, revised 1991 Amalia Mesa-Bains Born: Santa Clara, California 1943 mixed media installation including plywood, mirrors, fabric, framed photographs, found objects, dried flowers and glitter 96 x 72 x 48 in. (243.8 x 182.9 x 121.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program © 1991, Amalia Mesa-Bains 1998.161 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

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

Research Notes

Read research notes for An Ofrenda for Dolores del Rio. (pdf)


Architecture - religious - altar

Monument - memorial - del Rio

Portrait female - Rio, Dolores del