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Photos Reveal Frida Kahlo’s Life Off the Canvas

The Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Canada, is the current host of Frida Kahlo: Her Photos, an exhibition that has travelled to 12 cities in seven countries and has welcomed more than half a million visitors.

Previously hidden away in the Kahlo estate archives for over 50 years, the images in the exhibition pull back the curtain on Kahlo’s life off of the canvas: her roots, her friendships and romances, her fight with health, her politics, and the influential role that photography played in her experiences.

Kahlo’s spectacular painted self-portraits, many of which mixed realism with fantasy to interrogate questions of identity, class, race and the female experience, have made her one of the most celebrated artists of the twentieth century. Part of her persona that is less well known is her relationship with photography. For years she carefully collected photographs of herself and those she loved, as well as depictions of Mexican culture, politics, history and nature.

Frida Kahlo: Her Photographs presents approximately 240 images, mined from a collection of 6,500 photographs. The exhibition introduces pictures Kahlo made herself alongside photographs by prominent artists including Man Ray, Tina Modotti, Martin Munkási, Nikolas Muray, Edward Weston, and Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo. The show, promises the press release, reveals “insights into Kahlo’s rich and deeply personal world, and tells a fascinating story of an artist, a place, and an era.”

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