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Arts & Culture

Here's what Frida Kahlo’s grandniece thinks about the artist’s immersive show in Dallas

People looking at a large projection of a Frida Kahlo self-portrait on the wall of a large art space.
Kyle Flubacker
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Lighthouse Immersive
Frida Kahlo's grandniece approves of the immersive travel exhibition exploring the Mexican artist's life and work.

The family heirs of Kahlo’s legacy say “Immersive Frida Kahlo” is an incredible celebration of Mexican culture.

“Immersive Frida Kahlo” tells the story of an enigmatic Mexican icon who has captured the imaginations of people all over the world, but for Mara Kahlo, the immersive show celebrates the life of her dear grandaunt.

“The exhibition is amazing because not only does it capture Frida the artist, but it captures Frida the woman,” Kahlo said. “The one who cries, laughs, and sings with her guitar.”

Kahlo and her daughter, Mara de Anda, Frida’s great-grandniece, recently made a visit to Dallas to promote the show produced by Lighthouse Immersive. The pair have made similar visits to shows in Boston and Houston.

mara kahlo_mara de anda.png
Kristina Vicario
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Lighthouse Immersive
Frida Kahlo's grandniece, Mara Kahlo, and her daughter Mara de Anda (right) attended a press event at the "Immersive Frida Kahlo" exhibition in Boston.

Under their roles as president and commercial director of the Frida Family Foundation, Kahlo and de Anda protect the artist’s legacy, green-lighting projects that use her image and art.

“The family supports the show,” de Anda said. “We developed the exhibition with them, and I think it’s spectacular. Not only does it bring you closer to Frida’s artworks but her life and her three loves: Mexico, family, and Diego Rivera.”

The show takes the audience on a visual journey through the artist’s life using some of her most iconic artworks. Her emotionally intense self-portraits are magnified and projected on the walls of Lighthouse Artspace in downtown Dallas.

It also incorporates photographs of Kahlo’s family, as well as historical imagery from the early 20th century.

“You see a bit of what was happening at the time. A piece of the Russian Revolution and a piece of the Mexican Revolution,” Kahlo said. “You get a sense of her political ideals, her philanthropy, and why she wanted equality for all … For me, it was so important to see my grandmother Cristina on the walls, my mom, my aunts. It’s incredible to somehow reunite all of this under one art space and to connect with Frida.”

Kahlo and de Anda hope the immersive show sparks the public’s curiosity about the artist and about Mexico’s history.

“How incredible, especially for Mexicans, to see their star and icon in a space like this," Kahlo said. "Frida represents our Mexican roots. I think the show opens doors and moves hearts.”

While Kahlo never met her grandaunt, her name acts as a small memento of the artist’s spirit. She’s named after a character from the film “Tarzan and the Mermaids.”

“Mara was the evil mermaid,” she said. “When Frida saw the film, she loved the name, and she would sign letters to her lovers with that name. So, Mara is Frida.”

Got a tip? Email Miguel Perez at mperez@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @quillindie.

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