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Late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s intimate belongings to go on display in London

Clothes, jewellery, make-up and a defiantly red-leather-booted prosthetic leg belonging to the Mexican artist and Latina icon, Frida Kahlo, which were sealed in her house for more than 50 years, will be displayed in London for the first time outside Mexico.

art and culture Updated: Mar 09, 2018 09:27 IST
Indo-Asian News Service, London
She was born at La Caza Azul in Mexico City on July 6, 1907, the same place where she passed away on July 13, 1954. (Shutterstock.)

Frida Kahlo is undoubtedly a Latina icon. The Mexican surrealist painter is well known around the world for her stunning autobiographical art, including heart-wrenching paintings depicting her physical ailments, miscarriages, and identity struggles. Now, clothes, jewellery, make-up and a defiantly red-leather-booted prosthetic leg belonging to the Mexican artist, which were sealed in her house for more than 50 years, will be displayed in London for the first time outside Mexico.

The Victoria and Albert Museum on Thursday announced details of the major show, Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up, exploring one of the most recognised artists and women of the 20th century, reports the Guardian.

Claire Wilcox, senior curator of fashion at the museum, said Kahlo was an important “countercultural and feminist symbol” and being able to exhibit the items from Mexico was “a huge privilege”.

More than 200 items from the Blue House, the home of Kahlo and her muralist husband Diego Rivera, on the outskirts of Mexico City, were coming to London.

Visitors at Frida Kahlo Museum Blue House und courtyard, the historic house and art museum dedicated to the life and work of the late Mexican artist. (Shutterstock)

After Kahlo died in 1954, aged 47, Rivera locked up her belongings in a room and said it should not be opened until after his death. In the event, it was not opened until 2004, revealing a fascinating treasure trove of clothes, makeup, jewellery, medicines and other intimate possessions.

“This is the real material evidence of the way Kahlo constructed her identity,” the Guardian quoted Wilcox as saying.

The show will explore how the artist empowered herself through her art, clothes and style after a difficult early life.

Aged 18, she was involved in a near-fatal bus crash that left her in pain and incapacitated for long periods.

The show will include 22 of the colourful and often paint-splashed Tehuana garments she wore, visible in the hundreds of photographs that exist of her and the numerous self-portraits. There will also be one of her ebony eyebrow pencils that she used to emphasise her monobrow; and her favourite lipstick: Everything’s Rosy by Revlon.

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First Published: Mar 09, 2018 09:25 IST