Museum Exhibition: Frida’s Style: Traditional Mexican Women’s Costume from Mexico

Museum Exhibition:  Frida’s Style: Traditional Mexican Women’s Costume from Mexico

Date:  January 28-June 3, 2012

Place:  Tucson Museum of Art  (Tucson, Arizona.  U.S.A.)

Featuring beautiful textiles from The Castaneda Museum of Ethnic Costume in Tucson, Arizona, and objects from the permanent collection of the Tucson Museum of art, this exhibit features examples of the types of jewelry and traditional costumes favored by Frida Kahlo.  The outfits on display in this exhibition were chosen because they are representative of the styles favored by Kahlo. Though not owned by Kahlo herself, the outfits on display are similar in style, age, and material to those actually worn by Kahlo.

This exhibition presents Traje, or traditional dress.  It is an enduring and vibrant part of ethnic identity and folk art throughout Latin America. There is an incredible diversity in the kinds of textiles and costumes that are produced throughout Latin America, reflecting the unique cultural histories of each Indigenous group who produces them. These costumes have been part of Mexican heritage for millennia, extending back into the Pre-Columbian eras.

After the Spanish Conquest, pressure to discard traditional costume and acculturate to western styles of dressing was a powerful factor in the loss of some traditional styles of dress. However, many communities retained their traditional costumes. This is particularly true of women, who have maintained traditional costumes while incorporating new millenary technology, fabrics, and designs. These traditional costumes combine the best of personal ingenuity and cultural tradition.

Frida Kahlo, Mexico’s most well-known female artist wore traditional costumes from throughout Latin America. These textiles were part of her hallmark, lending a regal sense to her personal appearance. By wearing these costumes in a period of time when Mexican and American women were aspiring to the glamorous styles of golden age movie stars, Kahlo made an important and valuable contribution to the appreciation of these traditional outfits.

 

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