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  • Writer's pictureLucy

"Life is a Thousand Deaths"

Recently I went to the immersive Frida Kahlo exhibit in Albuquerque, NM. It was the first immersive art experience I've been to and I wasn't totally sure what to expect. I found out that it was a lot of fun and educational as well.

However, what surprised me the most was that it didn't feature any of her artwork. Instead it was all about her life which was complicated and short--she only lived 47 years, and most of that time was lived in chronic pain.

The title of this post, "life is a thousand deaths" is a quote from the 360 degree immersive video experience and it really seemed to encapsulate Frida's life.

If you don't know much about her I encourage you to read about her. I didn't know her story until I was working as a substitute teacher and got to fill an art class where the lesson plan included Frida. I was fascinated.

Frida was known for many things and this exhibit hit hard on the highlights of her life. But I walked away feeling like they only scratched the surface and wanted to know more about how her family managed the shock and fear around her accident at the age of 18. I wanted to know more about how she found her way through the long recovery as I'm sure she considered suicide as most of us would have in the same situation. And I wanted to know more about how she came back to loving the man who betrayed her love over and over.

Basically, I wanted a more gritty look at what it is to be a physically maimed female artist living in the shadow of a famous male artist and finding the strength to fight for her own voice. Why? Because similar battles still occur today.

Personally I found my way through my own pain through my art and with the help of a lot of mental health professionals and close friends. It's taken me 50+ years to find any sort of balance. Frida only had 47 years.

Anyway, the exhibit was fun, very interactive and, as I stated, educational. I learned a lot about her chronological life. It's perfect for someone who is just starting to learn about Frida. Here are some of my favorite exhibits:

This is what I call the "infinity" exhibit where animated graphic symbols used by Frida in her art are reflected through mirrors and when you stand in the right place you feel completely surrounded.

In this exhibit visitors are given an outline of Frida and colored markers. Each person colors in the image and then puts it in a projector where it is animated with florals inspired by Frida's artwork.

And in this exhibit you sit in a photo booth, pose, and then your image is digitally enhanced using an algorithm incorporating colors and graphics inspired by Frida's art.

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