Why Am I: Kahlo-Inspired Interpretations of Self

Open exhibition September 14 – October 12, 2018
In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month
Sponsored by: School District 51, Kyle & Cara Inman

Artwork drop-off: Tuesday, September 11, 10am-2pm
Artwork pick-up: Saturday, October 13, 9am-4pm

In school, we are often asked to consider the question, “Who are you?” Are you someone with a penchant for the sciences, the arts, or maybe athletics? Do you have an outgoing personality, or are you more on the shy side? As we age, the more pertinent question becomes, “Why are you the way that you are?” Why are you shy, or outgoing, or adventurous, or timid, or any of the other countless traits humans collectively possess? Whether you believe in nature, nurture, or a combination of the two, there is a reason behind every aspect of ourselves and every one of our tendencies.

With the exhibition Why Am I, The Art Center hopes to get people thinking about these reasons, as well as engage participants with Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15 nationwide) through the work of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), one of the most recognizable artists of all time. The Art Center also looks forward to collaborating with several classes from School District 51 for this exhibition.

Kahlo used self-portraiture to explore the concept of identity. Her art is intensely personal yet equally strongly tied to the political and cultural movements that defined her era. She came of age in post-revolutionary Mexico, which revered Mexico’s ancient history and native cultures yet was still subject to 20th century industrialization. Kahlo often inserted markers of ethnic nationalism, like Mexican indigenous clothing and headdresses, and of industrialization, like skyscrapers and medical devices (Kahlo was plagued with health issues throughout her adult life), into her self-portraits, as well as insects, flowers, and other objects from her own reality.

What are the most salient parts of your identity, and what visual signs define your reality? Whether you participate as an artist or a viewer, this exhibition is an opportunity to gain insight into how people see themselves.

Why Am I is open to all members of the Western Slope community, and there is no entry fee. It is not about imitating Kahlo’s style, inserting oneself into her narrative, or depicting oneself to look like her. Rather, it is an honoring of Kahlo’s legacy and an examination of the circumstances and qualities that make Western Slope citizens unique.

Link to the complete works of Frida Kahlo

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