Greeny Camberos first came across a “pass the brush” challenge video on social media.
The premise of the challenge is to start the video with a natural look and then immediately transform into glam after covering the camera with a makeup brush. Then, the person “passes the brush” by throwing it off-screen, and the video cuts to a new person who “catches the brush” and starts the process over again.
Camberos, who works as a professional body artist in Los Angeles, thought it would be a creative way to celebrate Dìa de los Muertos — the Day of the Dead — during quarantine with other Mexican artists in Los Angeles.
“This was our way of showing you the beauty of our culture and the beauty of the transformation, really, that we create,” Camberos told In The Know.
Camberos also thought it was the perfect opportunity to give these artists a platform to represent themselves and their culture accurately.
According to Camberos, Dìa de los Muertos is the most important holiday in Mexico. Celebrated on November 1 and 2, the two-day festival is meant to honor ancestors and give “goodbyes” to people and children who have passed away.
“My life revolves around Mexican culture and representing our people,” Camberos said. “[We’re] sharing the art, sharing our talents as Mexicans, as Indigenous people. They are already in our ancestral DNA, it’s not just a costume.”
The women shown in Camberos’ pass the brush challenge injected their own personalities and flair into the looks, which honor La Catrina — a tall female skeleton and a popular figure from Dìa de los Muertos.
La Catrina’s image is intended to make fun of the living. Her elaborate makeup and costumes symbolize wealth and, within the context of Dìa de los Muertos, serves as a message that death “neutralizes” everything.
“We’re going to the same God no matter how much we own or how much jewelry we wear,” Camberos explained. “[It’s] a reminder that we play with death, we dance with death. We’re not afraid of death, we know death is not the end. It’s a restart.”
That’s why Camberos’ montage is so interesting to look at — viewers can take in many different interpretations of death.
Camberos was also excited that the video was such a positive representation. She told In The Know that she hoped it opened people up to wanting to explore and learn more about Mexican culture.
“We need to represent our people and our culture in better ways [so] that we can be seen in better ways for who we really are,” Camberos said. “Maybe this will touch that part of your heart where you remember where you come from, where your roots are from.”
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