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Pataka pays tribute to an icon of Mexican Art

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Porirua’s Pātaka Gallery + Museum will come alive with the sights and sounds of globally celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in December.

A whole programme of events, under the banner of Diego and Frida, will use film, flowers, photography, and interactive workshops to fill Pātaka with snapshots of Frida’s life.

The calendar kicks off on December 7 with the photographic exhibition, A Smile in the Middle of the Way.

Told through the lens of some of the leading photographers of the day, the exhibition takes an intimate look at the life and relationship between Kahlo, and her partner and fellow artist Diego Rivera.

Pātaka Curator Community Exhibitions Emma Kitson, said Diego Rivera became a legend in his native country for his vibrant murals, while Kahlo chose to become a painter after a car crash derailed her dream of becoming a doctor.

"Frida’s strength and unwillingness to compromise has inspired many generations of women, artists or otherwise, to be true to themselves."

Kitson said the life and work of these two larger than life artists took place against the backdrop of a period of immense change in Mexico’s history, from before the Mexican Revolution to the post-revolutionary cultural revitalisation.

The event calendar kicks into top gear on December 15 with Pātaka hosting two workshops, a puppet show and a concert.

Artist Ruben Puertos will be holding a workshop teaching how to make papier-mâché figures, a key part of Mexico’s renowned Day of the Dead celebrations, where families commemorate deceased relatives.

Visitors to the Flowers for Frida workshop will be able to learn how to make paper flowers, which then can leave on an altar to Frida, while musician Cristohper Flores will perform Mexican Music from Frida’s Time.

Wellington Puppeteer Anna Bailey will use marionette puppets, pop ups and props to explore the childhood of Frida Kahlo in her show, Frida’s Album.

Kitson said the calendar of events epitomised Frida’s unique and rebellious character.

"She was a woman who broke the rules with no apologies. Her art was deeply personal at a time when this kind of work was often overlooked.

"The hardship she endured, her revolutionary ideals and even the way she looked all contribute to the fantastic story of her life."

Events wrap up in January with the screening of movie biography of the artist, Frida Still Life.

In addition to being a colourful chronicle of Kahlo’s controversial life, the film is also regarded as a prime example of the New Latin American cinema of the 1960s and 70s.

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