Large mural on Frida Kahlo honors traditional Mexican dress

A large mural by Irish artist Fin DAC in the Mexican city of Guadalajara honors the painter Frida Kahlo and the national costume.

The work of art called Magdalena will be inaugurated at the Awakening Impulsa dance festival in Mexico. Photo: AFP
The work of art called Magdalena will be inaugurated at the Awakening Impulsa dance festival in Mexico. Photo: AFP

This painting will be officially unveiled during the Despertares Impulsa dance festival, organized by the renowned dancer Isaac Hernández, held in Guadalajara, capital of the western state of Jalisco. 

The author of the mural, entitled Magdalena, said that depicting the most famous Mexican painter in Mexico was "almost obvious," because in her art she seeks to exalt the women of each country she goes to and she "represents Mexican art with her typical costumes.

On the wall of a ten-story building, the painter's image observes passers-by on Chapultepec Avenue with their hands together and dressed in a pink shawl, a multicolored blouse (huipil) typical of southern Mexico and a long blue skirt adorned with skulls.

Known for his style called 'Urban Aesthetics', Fin DAC has captured in walls, roofs, and streets of the five continents diverse female figures with their traditional costumes, always wearing a mask, an element that he considers his own signature. 

"No matter the culture and nationality for me, I am more interested in the type of clothing typical of each place, each country and each place has something to offer and show in this sense."

The Irish artist Fin DAC, also known as 'Urban Aesthetics', captured the image of Frida Kahlo in Mexican national dress. Photo: AFP
The Irish artist Fin DAC, also known as 'Urban Aesthetics', captured the image of Frida Kahlo in Mexican national dress. Photo: AFP

Fin DAC was invited by the producer of Despertares Impulsa and this is the first time he works in Mexico and the third time he visits Latin America, after having created six murals in Colombia and Brazil between 2012 and 2017.

For the urban artist, creating a mural in a public place is a way to give viewers a moment of peace and relaxation.

"When you see a spectacular advertising pole, you see an image trying to sell you something you don't need, but it makes you feel like you want it. (On the other hand) when you see a piece of art on the street it brings you a moment of happiness and peace, nothing from the advertising you see will make you happy, but art can definitely do it."

The mural will be inaugurated next Monday, July 15, 2019, as part of the festival's activities. Last Saturday was commemorated the 112th anniversary of the birth of the Mexican painter, born in Mexico City on July 6, 1907, and died in the same town on July 13, 1954.

Source: AFP

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Admiration or commercial exploitation?

The Mexican artist's family is fighting legal battles against her commercial exploitation without authorization.

Vans recently launched a tennis collection inspired by Diego Rivera's wife
Vans recently launched a tennis collection inspired by Diego Rivera's wife

Mexico is internationally recognized for its tequila, mariachi and undoubtedly in recent decades for the personality and exotic beauty of the painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), whose image has become a world icon that does not escape commercial exploitation.

In shopping malls and markets it has become customary to see the artist's image with her characteristic eyebrows together, braided hair, jewelry, and flowers, in t-shirts, cups, cosmetics, posters, makeup cases, tequila bottles, cushions, and notebooks, among other products and even in packaging of feminine towels.

Therefore, as evidence of the excessive spread of Fridomania, is that for 10 years, the Kahlo family has been in litigation with the company with Frida Kahlo Corporation, which authorized the Mattel brand to reproduce the Barbie doll with the artist's physiognomy within the Sheroes initiative, with which the world's most famous doll would have in the market a line that aims to pay tribute to various current female personalities as well as historical as the famous Mexican painter.

It was a Mexican judge who banned the sale of the toy in Mexico, recognizing Kahlo as the sole owner of his family's image rights. Vans recently launched a tennis collection inspired by Diego Rivera's wife. Also Zara, Converse, Bohemia, and Aeromexico have taken the celebrity effigy to make special editions of their brands and capture more consumers.

In an interview, Mara de Anda, Frida's great-grandniece, denies that they have given authorization for the footwear line.

When some companies approach the family to make use of Frida's image, it grants authorization "as long as they are products that have to do with Frida, that are of quality, that finally have a logic, it is granted with great pleasure, of course we have to know in depth what is going to be done, its values, morals and that they have to comply with certain standards that we have".

Figure of worship

Meanwhile, Frida's image is not only a motive for market exploitation but also a cult figure for many people around the world.

Since the 1990s, films, plays, ballets, musicals, tributes and much more have been made around the image of the mythical painter who is adored by international stars like Madonna.

In the 1990s, the famous singer declared her fervor for Kahlo and a political magazine published that Lucky Star's interpreter came to Mexico accompanied by her brother Antonio to see how she could acquire the rights to make a biographical film of Frida Kahlo, which finally was not made.

Before Ofelia Medina had made "Frida, Naturaleza Viva" (1983), by Paul Leduc, and later actress Salma Hayek would make her biographical version of the painter under the name of "Frida" (2002), directed by Julie Taymor and in the recent commemoration of the birth of Kahlo (July 6, 1907), both celebrities made in their social networks a tribute to the iconic painter, with photographic montages.

Source: El Sol de Mexico