Diana Martinez

By
May 2021 View more

Portrait of the artist Frida Kahlo was such a dynamic personality—not just as an artist, but as a feminist, a romantic, a fashion icon, an activist, a gardener. But I think the overarching thing that people seem to gravitate to is her ability to overcome adversity—that’s what makes her such an inspiration to so many people. To become a notable artist as a female in the 1930s and ’40s was quite a remarkable feat, and she made an impression all over the world.

Building Frida’s world The show includes 26 original works and more than a hundred photos, as well as a historical timeline that gives visitors the context of her life. But I’m probably most excited about the children’s area and the garden, which will really help people experience the culture of Mexico during Frida’s lifetime. Experts from Ball Horticulture have identified plants in her paintings and are growing them for an outdoor potted garden on our patio, and the children’s area features illustrations, coloring projects, and a video for kids that helps explain Frida’s life.

An artistic coup This is the largest Frida Kahlo exhibition in the Chicago area in more than 40 years—our curator [Cleve Carney Museum of Art director Justin Witte] calls it the “Super Bowl of the art world.” A collection like this would normally go to major metropolitan museum in Milan or Moscow or London, so to have it come to Glen Ellyn is really groundbreaking. We believe that Frida would love this—she had a passion for education, so she would love to see a show like this in a community college setting that’s so accessible to students and the public.

Photo courtesy McAninch Arts Center