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Pete Glatter

Tender Love and Care

(July 2005)

From Letters, Socialist Review, No.298, July 2005.
Downloaded with thanks from the Socialist Review Website.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

I’d like to add a few points to the article by Mike Gonzalez on Frida Kahlo (June SR).

You might have got the impression from some of the media coverage that she was an obsessive painter of self-portraits who was absorbed in herself. This exhibition makes it clear that she was not.

She was the daughter of a mestiza (mixed race) Mexican mother and an immigrant German father. She lived intensely but was constantly and painfully conscious of approaching death after a horrific accident at the age of 18. She fought for her own independence and integrity but found it almost impossible not to be emotionally dependent on Diego Rivera.

Her consciousness of these contradictions and ambivalences pervades the exhibition. She proudly depicts her Indian heritage. But there is a painting of her wearing a mask of La Malinche, the Indian mistress of the Spanish conqueror of the Aztecs. She ridicules the US and contrasts it with the cultural richness of Mexico. But she also savages the betrayal of the Mexican Revolution by its own politicians. She portrays herself in a head-dress from a matriarchal region of southern Mexico. But on her forehead is an image of Rivera, like an indelible tattoo.

This is an exhibition that has been put together with love for its subject and care for its visitors.

Pete Glatter, London

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