Artist, worldwide icon Frida Kahlo celebrated in several Chicago-area exhibits

Hispanic Heritage Month

Her face is recognizable worldwide.  The image of artist Frida Kahlo has lived on through the decades. 

This year, the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage brought some of her paintings to the Chicago area for the first time in 40 years.  The unique exhibit attracted 100,000 visitors in a matter of months.

Organizers found that people are eager to learn more about the 1930’s Mexican artist known for her self-portraits, depicting years of medical struggles.  Her paintings are considered some of Mexico’s national treasures. 

McAninch Arts Center Director Diana Martinez spent the last four years studying the life of Kahlo. 

“The more you study her, the more you realize that everything about her was symbolic,” she said.  “She was very bright. She read in English, German, Spanish and French. She was very well read.”

Kahlo has become a cultural icon in her home country and abroad. 

In Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, the National Museum of Mexican Art is preparing for its own Frida Kahlo exhibit next year.  As they prepare for the exhibit, one questions comes up:  Did Frida Kahlo ever make a stop in Chicago? 

“We suspect that at some point before she got to Detroit, they got off that train and spent a night or two here,” museum director Casareo Moreno said.  “The museum is hoping to confirm that before the start of their exhibit next year.”

Frida Kahlo’s story kicks off WGN’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. 

For the next month, WGN will be looking at the work and contributions of the LatinX community in Chicago and beyond. 

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