David Bowie was a big fan. Mexican House) in Mexico City, now the Casa graphs of the singer at Casa Azul.
David Bowie was a big fan. Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was an extraordinary person who lived an extraordinary, exotic life. Decades before Bowie, the artist with the famous monobrow, created a work of art from her life.
Mixing with celebrities and the wider art community, she painted; designed and made clothing – a traditionally styled dress of hers became an object of fashion homage; and took and collected lovers – and photographs.
The only Southern Hemisphere exhibition of her personal photograph collection opened in Te Manawa on Saturday – the first stop on an inaugural world tour.
Long after Kahlo died in 1954 aged 47, the collection of 6500 photographs was discovered locked in a bathroom at her former home, La Casa Azul (the Blue Azul, Frida Kahlo Museum.
241 of the images, taken by photographers such as Man Ray, Nikolas Murray, Gisele Freund, Martin Munkacsi, Tina Modotti, her father Guillermo Kahlo, and Kahlo herself offer a unique insight into the artist’s life.
Casa Azul director Hilda Trujillo Soto, attended the opening and conducted a tour of the exhibition, which also includes video footage.
‘‘No one knew about these parts of Frida until the archives were found. We found about 6500 photographs, all collected by Frida. They are very important in showing what was behind her work.’’
Bowie, Hilda says turned up at the museum around 2008.
‘‘Yes, David Bowie was among her many admirers.’’
On her cellphone, Hilda has photo- graphs of the singer at Casa Azul.
Of mixed German, Spanish, Creole and indigenous Mexican descent, Kahlo considered herself an outcast, status furthered by her left-wing politics and independent attitude. Severely injured and partially crippled in a bus accident when she was 18, her long painful recuperation further emphasised this sense of isolation, and she identified with others considered outcasts.
Kahlo is also revered as a feminist for defying social convention, and addressing life on her own terms.
Te Manawa’s CEO Andy Lowe says having the exhibition here was ‘‘hugely exciting; it’s amazing’’.
Frida Kahlo: Her Photos runs at Te Manawa until July 24. Next stop, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Frida Kahlo, photographed in 1944 by Lola Alvarez. Anna Bailey uses puppetry and a large pop-up picture book to illustrate details from the life of Frida Kahlo during the opening of the exhibition Frida Kahlo: Her Photos at Te Manawa on Saturday.