Shrines, Ofrendas, and Altars

My Shrine/ Ofrendas Collection is made with found objects and many different forms of traditional mixed media. I start each shrine with the idea of a specific milagro (miracle or a wish) and then build around that idea. I build these pieces organically from up-cycled materials one layer at a time. My passion for my Mexican cultural heritage and background in fine arts has greatly influenced this body of work. I have been exploring ways to elevate the fine craft of jewelry to create a bridge that can connect it to my passion for painting. These pieces are the exciting launch of this new journey in my work.

Historically Milagros have been used as a part of a religious ritual or act of devotion. They were left in churches as prayers for healing, offered to a saint as a reminder of a petitioners need, or in gratitude for a prayer answered. modernly, they are carried for protection, luck, and to represent wishes. Milagros are a part of the magical and symbolic past common to all cultures which continues to influence our lives today. Ofrendas otherwise known as Altars or Shrines in Mexico and other parts of South America hold a very special place in my heart. Having been born a Mexican American on the day of the Patron saint of Mexico, the day of the Virgen of Guadalupe, I have always been immersed in Catholism culturally. These Shrines are very rich in symbolism. They are not meant to be deemed religious though they are meant to evoke aspects of personal spirituality.

My hope is that you as the viewer interpret the symbols as they have meaning in your life.

Marisa Martinez