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Boca's 'Detourbutterfly' part of Day of the Dead show

F.A.T. Village on Friday will celebrate the Day of the Dead with music, art, a skeleton processional, giant puppets and altars devoted to the memory of loved ones. Boca Raton artist Nikki "Detourbutterfly" Saraiva will be there tending to an altar of her own.

Her installation at F.A.T. Village's Project Fine Art is part of "Art of the Dead," a group show also featuring works by Cenigma, Joseph Fischer, Emily Crawford, Deborah Gregg, Michelle Brecher, Alfred Lopez, Anthony Burks, Leanne Gardner and Nik Satterfield.

Saraiva's altar contains fresh flowers, lit candles and shelves with smaller artworks. Beyond the altar is a 20-foot wall filled with her paintings and the mixed-media assemblages that have become one of her primary passions. The assemblages are made from found items including bones, skeleton keys, clocks and parts from disassembled dolls, vintage lamps and a wooden rolling foot massager. She particularly likes things that look weathered and have history.

While many of the works were Day of the Dead-inspired, they have other meanings too, Saraiva assures.

"Martyr of Love," for example, is about matters of the heart. The structure, which has a clock at its center, is topped with a bell and steeple. At the bottom is a doorway where a small figure stands holding a string that has an upwardly sailing kite at one end and a red heart at the other.

"He's going to let [the kite] go in the midst of this lightning storm," Saraiva says. "It's about sacrificing for love, yet being a victim of what can come with love."

"Titan's Dance," another mixed-media assemblage, has the base of a vintage lamp and atop it, a figure with a partial doll face in a ballerina-like pose and a skirt made from skeleton keys. It's about grace and strength.

Saraiva, a single mother of three sons ages 2-12, says the art she began doing in earnest a few years ago came from a hard change she went through in 2010. That's when her relationship ended, while she was seven months pregnant with her third child. Before that, the former owner of a 10-year-old Gainesville retail business, had been working fashion weeks in Miami while striving to build a fashion career as a wardrobe stylist.

She put that aside to focus on her more immediate situation. "I basically leaned on my art," she says. "It was all I had to do."

Saraiva does illustrations, photography, digital art and literature. She's also a model and musician and recently began teaching art at Space of Mind and Art House, both in Delray Beach.

Once she realized that one job — that of artist — would allow her to do everything she loves, she became fully committed. "Over the past two years, I've 120 percent applied myself," she says. "I do art every day. "

She's been known to stop an art project to play guitar and sing. "When I go back to it, I'm refreshed," she says. "I bring back inspiration because I rocked out for however long. It's just how I do and it's working for me because I'm accomplishing more than I ever have in my life. ... I feel like Superwoman these days."

Colleen Dougher operates the South Florida arts blog Arterpillar.


"Art of the Dead" group show

When: Opens 6-11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, and runs through Nov. 22. Regular hours are 9-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Where: Project Fine Art, 500 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale

Cost: Free

Contact: 954-333-8900 or

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