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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Frida Kahlo: The Myths, Controversies, and Complexities of a global Icon and Artist Study Day Event

Frida Kahlo
2 November 2019
Avenue Campus, University of Southampton, Highfield Rd, Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this event, please email Lifelong Learning at .

Event details

Famous particularly for her self-portraits, much of Kahlo’s painting explores not only her own Indigenous-Spanish mestizo identity, but wider issues related to Mexican cultural identity. For many critics, the originality of her work is largely due to the negotiation evident within it between the private and the social, the traditional and the modern, and the national and the cosmopolitan. The question, as to why her work has been received with such enthusiasm both by those in Mexico promoting cultural nationalism, and those overseas linked to avant-garde movements, will also be discussed. Linked to that is the use Kahlo makes of both European ‘high art’ and Mexican popular art.

Several decades after her death in 1954, Frida Kahlo came to attract such intense international interest, achieving the status of a cult figure, and becoming the subject of books, films (including Coco, 2017), documentaries, TV. programmes, fashion shows and in more recent times represented in Theresa May’s controversial bracelet, in a Barbie Doll reincarnation and in an exhibition in the V&A (2018). Clearly, this has as much to do with a fascination with her dramatic and turbulent life as it has to do with interest in her painting. In considering her promotion as an ‘international icon’, we will focus on the 2002 Hollywood film of her life, Frida, directed by Julie Taymor, praised by some for but criticized by others for downplaying and decontextualising her Mexican/local/ personal and politically engaged reality.

To accompany the Study Day, there will be a screening of the film 'Frida' that will be run on Friday 1 November between 18:00 and 21:00. Attending the film screening isn't mandatory, but is highly recommended as touch on key aspects of the study day. to register your place on the film screening, click here.

Draft Programme

09:30 - Registration and coffee.

10:00 - Talk by Professor Jane Lavery

11:00 - Refreshment break.

11:15 - Second Talk by Professor Jane Lavery.

12:15 - Event Ends

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