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This project was successfully funded on August 26, 2017

Pyramid of the Dead - Burning Man 2017

by Tomás Bürkey



The Pyramid of the Dead is a Burning Man Honorarium Art Installation from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. This monumental, explorable structure draws from traditional celebrations of ‘Day of the Dead’ (Día de Muertos). Large hand-made tin altars called “nichos” form a pyramid and community altar, with each nicho featuring art created by different artists and burners as personal tributes to the dead. Through this participatory piece, we honor and explore the themes surrounding death and its relationship to life. Death is a part of life as much as life is a part of Death, and we invite you to celebrate this relationship with us.

The structure is approximately 20 feet high, and 30 by 20 feet in width and depth. The Nichos are stacked in rows to form a powerful, vibrant collage of those who have passed. At night, custom-designed projection mapping will illuminate the surface of the work. In addition, the enclosed space within the structure will serve as a shrine—where visitors will be encouraged to hang out and leave offerings to their own deceased loved ones, creating a communal space for meditation, reflection and remembrance.


We are a participatory art installation and want to give everyone an equal opportunity to be part of the project submit your designs for consideration for your own tribute to Nicho and we will do our best to have your artwork placed on the Pyramid. Submit to:



On the Thursday of the Burn, August 31st, our community of Mexican Burners is uniting three art projects; The Pyramid of the Dead, Xochipilli and Shogyo Mujo; to bring Día de los Muertos to Burning Man for the first annual Dance with the Dead. We invite you to come adorn yourself with ‘Catrina’ facepaint at our artcar, !Axolotl! The Earth Guardian, and gather at The Temple at 9:00pm for a procession to The Pyramid (1:30/Outer Playa).

At the Pyramid, we will conduct a ceremony to honor the spirits, particularly those residing in our Nichos, followed by brief reflections on Life & Death, DEADtalks. The night closes with a spiritually stimulating dance party with Mexican Sound Camp Cars Mayan Warrior and !Axolotl! The Earth Guardian. Together we will dance with our beloved dead and celebrate their presence as inspiration for our lives. 



The Pyramid of the Dead has been a popular centerpiece of the La Calaca Festival since 2014. La Calaca is an annual participatory arts festival in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico integrated into the vibrant celebrations of the Day of the Dead. Now in its sixth year, La Calaca was created by a non-profit community of local and international burners. For the first time ever it is travelling to the Burn!



The Pyramid of the Dead is a celebratory gift of life for the community made by the community. We consider the project to be a communal altar that thrives on collaborative contributions and shared loss. In combining our losses, we find inspiration for growth. Through generous donations and art grants we were able to achieve half of our target funding which covers building the structure and handcrafted tin Nichos. We still need $18,000 — all of our funding goes towards materials and production costs as well as shipping the Pyramid up from the heart of Mexico.



Pyramid Sticker

Our undying gratitude & a signature Pyramid sticker, printed in Mexico. Designed by La Calaca artists, the typeface is a modern interpretation of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics logo. Redeem on site at the Burn or mailed in Oct 2017.

Handmade Nicho Pendant

Wear a bit of the Pyramid close to your heart. Made from the same tin as the Pyramid itself. Handcrafted in Mexico, 1-of-a-kind keepsakes, created specifically for this project. Redeem on site at the Burn or mailed in Oct 2017.

Silkscreened T Shirt

100% cotton black shirt, made by hand in Mexico & silkscreened in 1 color with our signature Pyramid. Designed by the award-winning La Calaca Design Team, specifically for Radical Ritual. Redeem on site at the Burn or mailed in Oct 2017.

Original Nicho Art

ONLY 15 AVAILABLE! 8x10 giclée print of original Nicho artwork that you can display with pride. This romantic, gothic illustration was hand-drawn by artist Damon Powell for display in our Pyramid. Mailed in Oct 2017. 


La Calaca Poncho

A festival poncho made from locally-sourced Mexican cotton. ONLY 10 AVAILABLE! This heavy cotton blend blanket/desert snuggie will keep you warm on the Playa. Redeem on site at the Burn or mailed in Oct 2017. 

Nicho Tribute

Honor a loved one, have a personalized tribute Nicho placed in the Pyramid, celebrate life with your own artistic interpretation of death. Your design will be vinyl printed & placed in a handcrafted tin frame that becomes a part of the Pyramid itself.

Keepsake Nicho

ONLY 5! Same as above but La Calaca design team will create a personalised artwork based on images you provide. We will also create a mini to scale tin frame Nicho with the final artwork for you to take home! 23cm x 40cm and will be shipped in Nov 2017.


Medicina 81.5x156cm Polymer on Canvas 2014

 Original art signed & painted by Pyramid creator himself Tomas Burkey. This painting was created from inspiration of Meso American and Puebla cultures. Bringing the intention of medicine to the observer.

Medicina II

Medicina II 81.5x156cm Polymer on Canvas 2014

Original art signed & painted by Pyramid creator himself Tomas Burkey. 1of2, this painting was created from inspiration of Meso American and Puebla cultures. Bringing the intention of medicine to the observer.

ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE: "Hatchfund, powered by AIM, is a charitable organization with IRS 501(c)(3) tax exemption status."



We are an international community of passionate burners and artists who created the nonprofit La Calaca festival in Mexico. Now in it’s sixth year, La Calaca is an annual participatory arts festival in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico integrated into the vibrant celebrations of the Day of the Dead. 

Tomás Bürkey - Lead Artist

Tomás Bürkey is the creator of Piramide de Muertos. He is a Chilean-American multi-disciplinary artist with a career spanning over twenty years in the fields of painting, sculpture, installation, music and theater. He is also a co founder of the La Calaca festival. He has made Mexico his home for over 10 years, where the profound culture and ancient history has influenced his artistic and spiritual life deeply. Tomas designed The Pyramid to be both a participatory public art piece and a means of supporting and giving back to the Mexican community. We sponsor and give local underprivileged artists the opportunity to display their artworks on the Pyramid. Tomas works tirelessly alongside local artisans to individually handcraft each of the 120 tin nicho altars. And we incorporate key elements of Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ into our artwork and into the rituals we conduct at the Pyramid.  Hear more from the artist...

Lynn Rawden - Design & Communications Director

Lynn is involved with all aspects of communications and design related to the Pyramid. Her custom-designs—inspired by sacred geometry—is featured on all the perks. She is also co-founder and Design & Communications Director of La Calaca Festival., where the Pyramid originated. She is one of the original founders of La Calaca Village at Burning Man. 2017 will be her 11th year at Burning Man. Lynn works professionally in design, publishing and fashion.

Klaudia Oliver - Contributor

Klaudia seeks to foster creativity and consciousness through art, culture and unique experiences, creating spaces where people and ideas are incubated and converge. Klaudia is the co-founder of La Calaca festival in Mexico and co founder of La Calaca Camp at burning man she is a 10 year Burning Man veteran and licensee of TEDxBlackRockCity. 

Ben Brill - Production Director

A Canadian living in Mexico, Ben Brill (Saturn) has been  burning  since 2008. He’s helped build the Axolotl car, co-  produces  TEDxBRC on the playa and generally finds Burning  Man to be the most expansive, surreal community to ever manifest for one week. Always up for a dusty challenge, passionate about  technology, culture, spirit and the future;  Saturn will be getting  down and dirty building the Pirámide de  Muertos in the elements during early entry to Black Rock City  2017.

Ali Agus - Build Lead

Californian born, Indonesian raised, Mexico residing Ali Agus a.k.a. Turtle Crawl (Kura) has been burning since 2010 and is a Jack-of-All trades. He is a maker, a builder, an event organiser and a graphic designer occasionally moonlighting as a DJ under the monikers Ali from Bali and DJ Aux. Ali has worked and volunteered on numerous projects at Burning Man after falling in love with Black Rock City 7 years ago. He has contributed to Pinatas Revenge Theme Camp, The Axolotl Art Car, Center Camp and will also be a Temple Guardian this year.

Luis Caballero - Digital Production Director

Luis works as an event producer, catering to corporate and government events as a creator and designer. As a long-time DJ, Luis has developed a music brand that promotes the national underground electronic music scene , called Ba?ilele, whose main purpose is to present a platform for Mexican acts to perform and showcase their talent to a wider audience. He now specialises in video mapping and has been working on this technique for almost 7 years now has been very successful in this endeavor becoming the main video mapping provider in Mexico.

Pats Saucedo - Video Mapping Artist

Pats is a VJ and video mapper. Her focus as a creative designer and video storyteller has always been on the power of the perceptive illusion to create immersive experiences with high impact, looking to connect the Inner self with the inner child we all have within. She is the founder and CEO of and, a multi-disciplinary collective of design and art. Pats’ transdisciplinary vision in design, looks to connect and thrive with tools such as projection, lighting, architecture, sculpture and mechatronics with an analysis of the spectator in time and space.

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