Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 swept away the old regime and banished European influence in the arts. Kahlo and Rivera, in their different ways, helped to shape the cultural identity of twentieth-century Mexico. Together they made Mexico a magnet for the rest of the world.
The Mexican mural movement, born during the 1920s, was destined to produce some of the greatest public art of the last century. Diego Rivera's panoramic images adorn the walls of public buildings, combining social criticism with a faith in human progress. Inspired by early Italian fresco painting, as well as by Aztec and Maya imagery, his intricate visual narratives incorporate allegory and symbolism.
Compared with the monumental scale of Rivera's work, Kahlo's work is small in format. Arguably Mexico's most original painter, she made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences, dreams, hopes and fears.
In 2005 an estimated 340,000 visitors saw her retrospective at Tate Modern. Photographs of Frida were simultaneously exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery under the title Frida Kahlo: Portraits of an Icon. In 2011, the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester hosted an exhibition of their work: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Masterpieces from the Gelman Collection. In 2018, the Victoria and Albert Museum showed paintings, photographs and clothing for the exhibition Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up The accompanying lecture series was organised by Chloë She also contributed to the exhibition catalogue, which is still on sale.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were married in 1929. Their turbulent marriage and the turbulent times they lived through are the subject of the film Frida (USA, 2002). They are key figures in The Lacuna, a historical novel published in 2009 by Barbara Kingsolver and currently on the reading list of many UK Book Clubs. (In November 2021 Diego y yo (right) sold for $35M - an auction record for Latin art.)
a) in the Cultural Centre
Just turn up at the door, as we used to do.
Entrance is free to members of the 2223 season. Members of other branches of The Arts Society are charged €5. Everyone else will have to pay €10. So don't forget to join/renew before the lecture!
b) at home, streaming using Zoom
On the day before the lecture ...