- Guest Writer
Transport yourself into the world of renowned artist Frida Kahlo
Photo(s) courtesy of Naples Botanical Garden™
Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) influenced generations of artists. She is a role model for norm-defying women. And she is a source of strength for anyone who has faced illness, disability, injury, or loss.
But what inspired the artist?
Naples Botanical Garden explores the influence of home and nature in Kahlo’s work in Frida and Her Garden (January 14–September 10), a new exhibition featuring re-created portions of La Casa Azul (the Blue House), her residence in Mexico City’s Coyoacán borough, and the expansive garden surrounding it. This exhibition is hosted in partnership with Museo Frida Kahlo.
La Casa Azul was the artist’s refuge during a tumultuous marriage with husband and Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, and a life wracked by pain. Kahlo suffered from polio as a child and nearly died in a bus accident in her teens. She endured some 30 operations and used a wheelchair for much of her life. But she found beauty in the natural world, and that is the spirit Frida and Her Garden celebrates.
Naples Botanical Garden spent a year transforming a previously inaccessible portion of its property into exhibition grounds that capture the tranquility of La Casa Azul. Frida and Her Garden is tucked amid tropical foliage similar to the flora Kahlo featured in her work.
Frida and Her Garden includes sculptural pieces such as La Casa Azul’s iconic façade and a replica of the stepped pyramid Kahlo and Rivera used to display their collection of pre-Hispanic figures. It features garden beds showcasing plants from Kahlo’s paintings, those that are native to Mexico, and those that are reminiscent of Kahlo and Rivera’s life together, such as “frogfruit,” a nod to Rivera’s nickname, “Toad-Frog.” In addition, six animal sculptures are located throughout the garden, depicting creatures dear to her, including a parrot and a butterfly. Their varying styles reflect her love of indigenous art and Mexican folk art.
Special programming, tours, and after-hours experiences during Frida After 5 offer opportunities for a deeper exploration of Kahlo and her country. Frida and Her Garden is the centerpiece of the Garden’s 2022–23 season, Mexico: A Celebration of Plants & Culture. The exhibition is also a major component of Collier County’s ¡ARTE VIVA!, a community-wide celebration of Hispanic art and culture, presented by the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau.
This event supports this year’s theme, Mexico: A Celebration of Plants & Culture, which highlights one of the most biodiverse places on Earth and celebrates cultural connections to the natural world.
About Naples Botanical Garden
Naples Botanical Garden is where plants and people thrive together. In addition to our 170-acre showcase for tropical plants, the Garden offers a uniquely beautiful, natural, and ever-changing experience to bring our diverse community together to enjoy companionship, refuge, learning, and celebration.
Hours of operation are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (8 a.m. early entry for Members). Visit naplesgarden.org for details.