Sandra Nitchie, born in Baltimore, Maryland and graduate from the Maryland Institute, College of Art, Class of 94, has considered herself an artist from grade school. Sandra has spent her life creating her heart´s passion and today she finds her muse drawn from the rich Mexican culture as she makes her home along the Riviera Nayarit in Bucerias, Mexico.
Wanting to make a life change from her career as a graphic designer for over 15 years in the Washington D.C. area, she moved to Mexico seeking a new way of life as a fine artist and art teacher. Two years after moving to Mexico, Sandra created the Bucerias School of the Arts where she taught and painted commissions for those who enjoy her art. Five years later Sandra realized her ultimate dream, to open her own gallery.
Today Galeria Monarca is the crown jewel of her heart. Come visit Galeria Monarca and shop for something unique created from her art or take a painting class and create your own work of art. Galeria Monarca is located in the heart of the Bucerias Art District at 156 E SUR Lazaro Cardenas, Bucerias, Mexico, just in front of Suites Costa Dorada.
La Catrina, the Mexican icon of of death, who´s often portrayed as a tall, elegantly attired female skeleton sporting an extravagantly plumed hat — shows up in books, in cartoons, on posters, in figures and in the works of some of Mexico’s greatest artists. La Catrina has come to symbolize not only El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and the Mexican willingness to laugh at death itself, but originally catrina was an elegant, well-dressed woman, refering to people of wealth. La Catrina reminds us of the Truth that everyone is equal in the end.
Born of Revolution
La Catrina as we know her originated with Jose Guadalupe Posada, considered the father of Mexican printmaking. Posada’s working life paralleled the reign of dictator Porfirio Díaz, whose accomplishments in modernizing and bringing financial stability to Mexico pale against his government’s repression, corruption, extravagance and obsession with all things European. Concentration of fantastic wealth in the hands of the privileged few brewed discontent in the hearts of the suffering many, leading to the 1910 rebellion that toppled Diaz in 1911 and became the Mexican Revolution. Posada’s illustrations brought the stories of the day to the illiterate majority of impoverished Mexicans, both expressing and spreading the prevailing disdain for Porfirio’s regime. The image now called “La Calavera Catrina” was published as a broadside in 1910, just as the revolution was picking up steam. Posada’s calaveras — La Catrina above all, caricaturizing a high-society lady as a skeleton wearing only a fancy French-style hat — became a sort of satirical obituary for the privileged class. But his Catrina cast a wider net: His original name for her, “La Calavera Garbancera,” used a term that in his day referred to native Mexicans who scorned their culture and tried to pass as European.
Grande Dame of Death
The Day of the Dead brings into focus one of the greatest differences between Mexican and U.S. cultures: the 180-degree divide between attitudes toward death. Mexicans keep death (and by extension their dead loved ones) close, treating it with familiarity — even hospitality — instead of dread. La Catrina embodies that philosphy, and yet she is much more than that.
A product of the irrevent spirit and rebellious fervor that ignited a revolution, lovingly kept alive and evolving over time, she remains as relevant today as she was a century ago. She is all the more endearing for reminding us of one more Mexican characteristic that sits 180 degrees from today’s U.S. population: The ability to extract humor from protest, to poke fun at the powers that be with no concern that someone might take offense.