Update 29th October: Elicio has contacted me with a slight change in plans; due to a need for a sim redesign, Calavera! will now be closing on the 16th November, and the raffle draw will be held then.
I’m an unashamed fan of Elicio Ember. Cerridwen’s Cauldron never ceases to amaze, and his wonderful builds of Nu Orne and Siren’s Secret at the 2012 Fantasy Faire completely enthralled me. So when he sends me a personal invitation to explore his latest installation, you can bet I’m not only ready to accept – I’m there!
Calvera! is located high over Cerridwen’s Cauldron, and brings the famous celebration marked throughout Mexico and in other cultures around the world to life in Second Life for its third year under Elicio’s skilled hands. It’s a small installation, but one which, as with all of Elicio’s work, has been finely crafted by a master of the visual feast.
You arrive on a small gazabo-like platform just outside of a churchyard, beyond which lies a small village. Here you’ll find background on the exhibit and the Day of the Dead celebrations, as well as information about José Guadalupe Posada, whose work features in the exhibit, and about the Calavera Hunt. It is also here that you should set your viewer to Midnight in order to fully enjoy the installation as intended. I opted to use the windlight “A-12 AM” preset, as I love the vibrancy it gives to colours – and Day of the Dead is a colourful festival.
There are two of Elicio’s beautiful teleports here as well, one to his store and one to other highlights in the region. If you’ve not visited Cerridwen’s Cauldron below, I cannot emphasise enough how much it is worth to make use of both once you’ve seen Calavera! and see the rest of Elicio’s work first-hand.
From the arrival point, you cross the bridge into the graveyard itself. Here are tombs, headstones and graves, many with candles burning in memory of the departed and gifts of flowers and el pan de muerto on them. You are free to wander either left or right from the bridge, although I’d tend to favour going to the right first and working your way around the installation counter-clockwise.
There is a lot to see here as you walk – and be aware that you will, for at least part of the way, be under observation yourself from the leafy shadows! Elicio has made fabulous use of light and darkness to achieve a beautiful effect for what to some western eyes at least might seem a faintly macabre celebration, complete with painted skulls, or calaveras (albeit made of papier-mâché or candy) from which the installation takes its name.
On the far side of the graveyard from the entrance point is a tall church, again bearing all the hallmarks of Elicio’s eye and skill, lit from within with a welcoming warmth, with candles flickering around the altar. Form here it is a short walk to the village square and a recommended visit to the Calavera Cantina, which offers a tribute to the work of José Guadalupe Posada.
A cartoonist illustrator and artist, Posada used calveras in his work as a means of satirical and religious commentary. Largely unnoticed following his death in 1913, Pasada’s engravings were “discovered” by the French artist Jean Charlot in the 1920s, who brought them to a wider audience, where they have since become associated with The Day of the Dead.
This is the third Calavera! exhibit Elicio has put together, and represents over 100 hours of work. To help support this effort, Elicio is running a hunt throughout the installation’s open period. On offer are a range of limited edition gifts, which will not be available anywhere else, and those completing the hunt will be entered into a raffle to be drawn on the last day of the exhibition, November
30th 16th, with a chance to win one of five special prizes. The hunt involves following clues, doing a little research and having some fun. There is a L$100 entry fee payable in order to received further information, which is how the hunt is being used to offset the costs of the exhibit.
Calavera opened on October 21st, and runs through until November
30th 16th. It is well worth a visit and an exploration; and if you’ve never visited Cerridwen’s Cauldron before, then do please leave yourself time to do so – you really won’t be disappointed.
- Calvera! – The Dead of the Dead exhibit, Cerridwen’s Cauldron
- Cerridwen’s Cauldron main teleport point
- Calvera Hunt in-world group
- My review of Cerridwen’s Cauldron from May 2012.