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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

San Antonians Honor Frida Kahlo's Legacy on Her 113th Birthday

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 8:53 AM

  • Facebook / Museo Dolores Olmedo
Under the layers of brilliantly colored paint that depicted dream-like scenes, such as a woman split in half with nails in her skin or two identical women connected by a vein to their open hearts, was the emotions and reflections of Frida Kahlo’s turbulent life.

Monday marked what would have been the beloved artist's 113th birthday.

She was born on July 6, 1907 in the city of Coyoacán, Mexico to a German father and a Mexican mother. Her traditional Tehuana style became her trademark, with her flower headdress, flowing blouse and skirt and bangle gold jewelry. Through the decades she has come to embody Mexican culture and national pride, which ties her closely to the people of San Antonio.

She has inspired generations of visual artist through out the city. One such artist, Raul Caracoza, created screenprints of Kahlo in 2006 that now hang in the McNay Art Museum. The McNay's collection also features works by Kahlo's husband, Diego Rivera, with whom she had a, shall we say, tumultuous relationship, to say the least.

  • Facebook / McNay Art Museum
In 2016, San Antonio launched its own Kahlo-centric celebration, Frida Fest SA, which features a “Frida-inspired” market, live entertainment and local Tex-Mex food and drinks. The event is traditionally held on July 15 and 16, and nearly 8,000 people attended the 2019 festival. This year's fest has been pushed back to mid-December because of the pandemic.

Janie Villarreal McClinchie, the founder of the festival and Que Retro Arts, was at Amiga Cafe on Monday for a special Frida birthday party that featured a special meal and Paloma Blancas, a tequila-based cocktail and one of Kahlo’s favorite drinks, to celebrate the artist's birthday.

  • Facebook / Frida Fest SA
McClinchie says her own art is inspired in large part by Kahlo’s iconography. She said Kahlo was known as “Diego Rivera’s wife” while she was alive, but now she has become so much more for Latinas and women in San Antonio.

“She is really an icon for women because she was so strong and independent,” McClinche told the Current. “She overcame so many obstacles in her life and she didn’t let these things keep her down, but they inspired her art.”

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