On February 8th the photo exhibit “Frida Kahlo through the lens of ten greats” was inaugurated in Managua, portraying different facets of the Mexican painter
By Yamlek Mojica L. (Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES – We associate Frida Kahlo with those thick eyebrows, the flowers in her hair, and the colorful Mexican attire. According to the experts, all this was part of “a great performance” that also became her artistic image.
The “Ortiz Gurdian” Foundation is presenting through May in Managua the exhibit “Frida Kahlo through the lens of ten greats”, a series of photographs of Frida taken by ten important artists of the era, all of whom illustrate a more hidden side of the painter.
Juanita Bermudez, coordinator of the foundation’s cultural program, expressed in an interview for the television program “Esta Noche” [“Tonight”] that due to the impossibility of bringing pieces from Frida’s collection to the country, they sought to highlight her iconic image as art, since, according to the cultural emissary, “her life in itself was a great artistic performance.”
The fact is that Frida was marked by tragic events, and her work openly exposes this. At six, she contracted polio, a disease that paralyzes the muscles, and in her youth she suffered an accident that left her bedridden and subject to multiple operations.
Although her paintings narrate her path under the shadow of these illnesses, they made it impossible for her to create a more extensive work than that we currently know. The paintings that exist are in the world’s largest museums or in private collections, making it impossible to present them in Nicaragua.
Nevertheless, the role that this Mexican woman has played in modern culture make her indispensable within the study of the arts. As such, the photos and an appreciation of her is equally important, Bermudez feels.
Although Frida was part German and a member of the middle class, she always embraced her Mexican roots and was proud of her indigenous ancestry. She demonstrated this in her clothing, a declaration to the empowerment of her native land.
“Her life was a performance”
Despite the fact that many of the photos of Frida were widely produced and well thought out, it’s said that the image we see of the painter was nothing less than an artistic “performance” with her own body.
Nevertheless, the photographic display exposes the humanity behind the artist. “Frida had someone that arranged her hair the way we see it in the photos, she had someone who placed the flowers, arranging them according to her conditions. It wasn’t something done suddenly and without thinking,” Bermudez states.
Tatiana Torres, director of the Ortiz Foundation’s Art Center, noted that the majority of the photographers represented in the exhibit had a close connection with the artist. Among them were Antonio Kahlo, son of Cristina Kahlo, Frida’s younger sister, and Luciene Bloch, an intimate friend of Diego Rivera’s and of the artist.
“They all had some level of closeness, of intimacy, with her, which makes this selection of portraits even more special. All these photographers were characterized by knowing deeply the person they were immortalizing,” Torres affirms.
In the exhibition, there is more context given to each one of the photos and their creators. There are also reproductions of the painter’s works that will aid in understanding the shots. The gallery is located in the Art Center of the Ortiz Gurdian Foundation, on the first floor of the Malaga building in Plaza Espana. The exhibit will be open until May.