Frida Kahlo - Her Photos
Frida Kahlo – Her Photos was an exhibition of 241 photographs from Frida Kahlo’s private collection, hosted by Te Manawa museum in 2016.
Frida Kahlo - Her Photos. Te Manawa 2016.
In 2016, Te Manawa museum, Palmerston North, hosted the exhibition Frida Kahlo - Her Photos during its international tour. The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was one of the twentieth century’s most recognisable cultural icons, and one of Mexico’s most celebrated and inspiring personalities. Her art, which focused on exploring her personal identity through self-portraits, played a crucial role in defining a new art following the Mexican Revolution.
Frida Kahlo - Her Photos included 241 images selected from Frida’s personal collection. Some of the images were likely to have been taken by Frida herself and many include her own creative annotations, such as notes written on the back, parts coloured in or cut out, or kisses impressed on them. The photographs give an intimate view of Frida’s life, art, friendships and romantic relationships, political tendencies and other interests, and her fight with fragile health. They also demonstrate her passion for Mexico.
When Frida died in 1954, her house was turned into a museum for the people of Mexico to visit. Many of her belongings, including her collection of over 6500 photographs, were stored in a locked bathroom and remained hidden until 2004. When the archives were found, they gave valuable insights into the inner workings of Frida’s life and her paintings.
Mexican photographer, photo historian and curator of Frida Kahlo - Her Photos Pablo Ortiz Monasterio (Museo Frida Kahlo, Mexico City) selected 241 photographs from this collection for the exhibition. The photographers included Edward Weston, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Man Ray, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Martin Munkácsi, Nickolas Muray and Tina Modotti.
Frida was exposed to photography from a young age, as her grandfather and father were both professional photographers. She shows a strong awareness of her best angles and poses in portraits taken by her father, and her face-on gaze at the lens is reflected in her own paintings and photographs taken of her by great photographers of the twentieth century.
Terra Esplêndida mounted and organised an international tour of Frida Kahlo - Her Photos, and Te Manawa museum was the only venue in New Zealand to host it. Hilda Trujillo Soto, director of Museo Frida Kahlo, visited Palmerston North to help open the exhibition, which was seen by over 10,000 visitors in four months.
Alongside the exhibition, Te Manawa organised a cultural programme that attracted Latin American and other communities in New Zealand. Local arts groups and artists created related exhibitions and produced unique items for the museum shop. A “Viva la Vida Fiesta” took place in the city, which included a parade of giant figurines, Latin American food stalls and music and dance performances, and other “Frida-inspired” activities. The fiesta attracted hundreds of visitors and remains an annual event in Palmerston North.
Published 02 November 2023
“Frida Kahlo – Her Photos sparked a community takeover by Fridaphiles across Aotearoa. They had fiestas all over the city and down George Street, with our Mexican and other Latin American communities. It was so much fun!”
18 March to 24 July 2016
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