The Tiki Love Truck has been residing in the V&A’s Porter Gallery for the past three months as part of the Disobedient Objects exhibition. Like many of the objects in there, their uses will continue as originally intended once they are returned to their owners and back to the streets. The truck, however, won’t let being displayed in a museum spoil its annual tradition of being decorated for Day of the Dead.
The vehicle commemorates John Joe ‘Ash’ Amador who was sentenced to death by the state of Texas. After his execution, his friends and family made a death mask. Ten days later, back in Britain, they drove the Tiki Love Truck through Manchester. With Ash’s mask in pride of place, it presented a spectacular statement against the death penalty.
The pagan festivals of Samhain and Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) are holidays for remembering and honouring those who have passed. From the 31st October to the 2nd November, the truck will be decorated with a dedicated Day of the Dead shrine.
Traditionally between these dates the Spirit worlds open up as the veils between worlds become thin and we can communicate with those who have crossed over.
Last night, Carrie and her team from The Treatment Rooms came into the museum after hours to set up a shrine in the back of the truck which will be on display over the weekend. The shrine includes a jade death mask made by Nick Reynolds, taken from the Palenca death mask of Mexico.
This shrine is dedicated to the memory of Carrie’s mother Jill Richards, Herman Wallace, John Joe (Ash) Amador, Luis Ramirez and Khristian Oliver.
Do drop by over the weekend to see it for yourselves!