The veil is thin this week and Rockefeller Center is ready to greet the spirits. Standing on Center Plaza at 30 Rockefeller Plaza is a brightly colored ofrenda, an altar traditionally created for the Mexican holiday of Día de Muertos that honors the lives of lost loved ones. The giant installation, titled “Los Dos Soles,” was designed by Mexican artist, architect, and designer Daniel Valero. It is part of a multi-day celebration of Mexican culture and heritage featuring Mexican art, music, and Día De Muertos traditions.

Dia de los Muertos ofrenda at Rockefeller Center
Photo Courtesy of Tishman Speyer

The design of the ofrenda, like much of the work that comes out of Valero’s Mestiz design studio, makes use of vibrant colors and textures inspired by nature. Bright reds, oranges, and blues adorn the steps of the altar while zig-zagging blue and pink rays radiate from the edges. These shapes emulate agave leaves and sunbeams. This symbolic sun embodies the spirit of the holiday as a celebration of life, as the sun is the creator of life.

Visitors to the ofrenda are encouraged to leave their mark. Guests are invited to take photos or write letters as they sit on the handwoven reptilian benches on the front of the ofrenda, then pin those photos or letters to the back of the ofrenda in remembrance of their own loved ones.

The altar also acts as a symbolic portal to San Miguel de Allende, where another ofrenda by Mestiz is on display at La Casa Dragones. This year’s ofrenda was made in partnership with Tequila Casa Dragones and The Consulate General of Mexico in New York City. Bottles of Casa Dragones tequila adorn the altar along with pillar candles and overflowing bouquets of marigolds. The strong floral scent of the marigolds is meant to help guide the spirits to the altar.

The ofrenda will be on display to the public until November 2 at 5pm. Festivities open to the public for free throughout the week include site-specific dance performances by Mexican dancer and choreographer Diego Vega Solorza, traditional Day of the Dead Catrina face painting, live Mariachi bands, and Casa Dragones tastings.

Next, check out More Art Installations to See in NYC This October!