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Basin Buzz: A look into Frida Kahlo's personal photo collection

The exhibit comes from the archive of photographs that belonged to Frida Kahlo's personal collection and were unknown for 50 years.

MIDLAND, Texas — If there's one person in the world who understands art, pain, and passion, it's Frida Kahlo.

"We are very familiar with her story, her artworks, but we are not familiar with the idea that photography was very important for her," said General Coordinator of Museum of Frida Kahlo in Mexico City, Perla Labarthe.

"Frida Kahlo - Her Photos" is one of the newest exhibits at the Museum of the Southwest. It's a look into Frida's personal photo collection that was hidden for more than 50 years.

The pictures were found in the Blue House, the place where Frida was born, the home in which she grew up in, and where she would continue living with her husband, Diego Rivera.

"When Diego Rivera decided to make the Blue House a museum, he gave the instruction to put all her personal belongings apart," said Labarthe. "It took us 50 years to put the archives in the public eye."

The archive was opened in 2003. All the documents and over 6,500 photographs were found and studied. Most would assume Frida only painted, but her life was also heavily involved with photography.

"What you are going to see are the photographs that are a part of her life because some of them are family photos," said Labarthe. "We have photographs of Frida's father, mother and some self-portraits that her father did because he was a very good photographer so Frida was involved with photography since she was a young kid."

The pictures gives us a look into understanding not only the people close to her, but how photography also influenced her paintings. 

Frida got into a bus accident at 18-years-old. The accident caused her body to be impaled by a medal rod, leaving her bedridden for many months, and later unable to carry or bear any children.

It would be a life-changing moment for Frida physically and emotionally, but it didn't stop her from doing what she loves most.

"One of the chapters of this exhibit explores that facet of her life," said Labarthe. "We see in her in some photos when she was recovering from that accident and surgeries throughout her life. We see her in those photographs painting."

Other pictures show how Frida held onto pride with her mixed heritage.

"In the first room, you see the origins, you can see her family photos that includes one of her mother when she was little and she is using a Tehuana dress that's a traditional Mexican dress," said Labarthe. 

A picture is worth 1,000 words. Here, it's worth much more.

"Perhaps no other artist has had the impact on a generation of people 20-21st century as Frida. Her work is honest and it's pain, it's honest and it's beauty," said Museum of the Southwest Curator Matthew Ward. "I think Frida is going to help us connect with our community on a deeper level."

The exhibit will be on display until November 20 at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland.

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