When I first saw Pixar’s Coco, I loved seeing Frida Kahlo and Maria Felix depicted as calacas — also known as Day of the Dead skeletons. I also wondered what it would be like to see another Latinx icon in calaca or catrina form — for example, I envisioned what the late Selena Quintanilla would look like. Now that my imagination has become reality, it’s safe to say, I have mixed feelings about Selena’s Day of the Dead statue.
On Friday, September 13, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Menchaca Studios unveiled a Selena Day of the Dead statue that people will be able to experience during their Day of the Dead Festival taking place on November 1 through 2 in San Antonio, Texas.
The statue itself is quite impressive in its craftsmanship. My San Antonio reported that the statue features more than two million beads and is 8-feet tall and it was made by 40 indigenous Huichol artisans. Menchaca Studios, based in Mexico, creates stunning works of art that is very much rooted in the Mexican tradition.
The City of Antonio is going all out for their Day of the Dead festival, which includes a Mythical Alebrijes exhibition, a 5K, live music, food, a beer garden, and so much more. Aside from the Selena Day of the Dead statue, there’s also some kind of Selena dance production — you can catch a glimpse of it on Instagram.
While we love the representation of indigenous Huichol art and the inclusion of Selena, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with the saturation of Selena statues, murals, merchandise, and more.
This year alone, we’ve had the Telemundo series “El Secreto de Selena,” the cast announcement and filming of the Netflix production of Selena, and not to mention an abundance of Selena legal matters.
While the Quintanilla family has yet to comment on the Day of the Dead statue, we assume they might do so sooner or later. The family has historically been quite protective over the use and licensing of her image.
Ultimately, there are also countless other Latinx celebrities that have passed on who also deserve to be celebrated just as much as Selena. While I’m not saying we shouldn’t celebrate Selena during Day of the Dead, or any other day, I’m saying we should let her soul rest. It doesn’t mean we’ll forget about her or her legacy (that’s practically impossible), but for the sake of it feeling exploitative, let’s give Selena’s memory some peace.