If you’re in Phoenix, Arizona this holiday weekend, get your flower crowns on to celebrate Frida Kahlo and local artists with a celebration organized by a collective of Latina creators who call themselves the Phoenix Fridas. The weekend of events celebrates Kahlo’s birthday — the Mexican artist was born on July 6th over one hundred years ago in Coyoacán — as well as the Phoenix Fridas’ 15th anniversary.
The collective founded the group in 2004, with members cycling in and out from time to time. Founding member Kathy Cano-Murillo told a local university paper that the Phoenix Fridas have been inspired by the way that Kahlo worked during a period when female artists faced so many more challenges than today. “During her era, she was able to live as a full-time artist, handle her business dealings and be true to herself in what she painted. If she could do that back then, we can do the same in this day and age too.” The diverse members of the Phoenix Fridas have different styles as artists and different life stories, but the bold, independent spirit of Kahlo is what they share in common. “We love to carry on her legacy in that way,” said Cano-Murillo.
On what is the first Friday of the month (the city hosts an arts “First Fridays”) you can find the ten Phoenix Fridas at the Fair Trade Café exhibiting their work in a group show, which will feature a mix of media. The opening runs from 6pm to 9pm that evening.
On Saturday at the Mucho Mas Art Studio, the Phoenix Frida Fest has a lineup of Kahlo-themed activities and presentations that include a panel discussion with some of the collective’s members about what it’s like to be a working artist and a fashion show in which you are invited to channel the artist through a homemade headdress and garb. At Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, you can also catch a book signing for Forever Frida: A Celebration of the Life, Art, Loves, Words, and Style of Frida Kahlo written by Cano-Murillo; Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, by the way, hosts a Mujerxs Summer Book Club that will be holding its monthly meeting (the first Saturday of each month) on the 6th to discuss bell hooks’s All About Love: New Visions.
All of the weekend’s events are free and simply ask that you register to RSVP for Saturday’s Frida Fest; you’ll get a free gift if you RSVP.