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Viva Mexico

H.E. Mr. José Antonio Zabalgoitia, Ambassador of Mexico. El Grito- 2021

The Cobra Museum presents “Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera: A Love Revolution”, a special exhibition of one of the two most important private collections of the world-famous Mexican modernists which has never been shown in the Netherlands before.

So far, this has been one of the most popular exhibitions ever for the Cobra Museum: in three weeks alone, at the very edge of the pandemic restrictions, 30,000 people have visited the exhibition of the Mexican artists who revolutionized the world, and who continue to be one of the most famous couples up to today. Kahlo – the most famous woman artist in history – was a radical, talented, bi-cultural, bisexual and a disabled woman whose legacy continues to inspire people worldwide. However, her work only received international recognition after her death, and her status as a feminist, free-spirited icon and women’s rights advocate only became evident later. The politically active muralist Diego Rivera was already a celebrity during his life, and he is still one of the most famous Mexican painters.  

The avant-gardist couple had strong political revolutionary ideas, impressive personalities, as well as an incredible talent and a monumental creative force. Despite their decision to live in an open marriage clashed with societal rules of their time, they were accepted and cherished by the Mexican, European and American high society, including the political community. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo up to today are worldwide known as genius artists, scandalous celebrities, and true Mexicans.

H.E. the Ambassador of Mexico, José Antonio Zabalgoitia and H.E. Mr. Hugo Siblesz, Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on behalf of the Embassy of Mexico to the Netherlands and the trustees of the Cobra Museum of Modern Art respectively, hosted a “Noche Mexicana” to celebrate the 211th Anniversary of the Independence of Mexico and to introduce the fabulous exhibition “Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera: A Love Revolution” to their guests.

The guests included the diplomatic corps at large, international organizations in the fields of justice, migration and defence, members of the academic community, as well as Dutch government officials. The guests were so numerous – including ambassadors from Algeria to Uruguay, from Vietnam to Rwanda, from Argentina to Croatia, from Panama to Poland, from Japan to the Dominican Republic, as well as the heads of the OPCW and the IOM – that it is truly impossible to mention all of them.

Remembering the event that started the 1810 insurrection, Ambassador Zabalgoitia said: “Viva to the heroes that gave us fatherland and freedom”, followed by all the guests repeating together with him: “Viva Mexico!”.

The event was accompanied by Mexican gastronomy, with specialities served together with margaritas and tequilas. The fantastic mariachi “Tierra Caliente” with colourful dresses of “Xochiquetzal” Mexican dancers, completed the event.

Xochiquetzal – Mexican dancers.

The core of the “Love Revolution” exhibition at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art consists of twenty-three iconic works by Kahlo, including some of her most famous self-portraits. In addition to paintings by Frida Kahlo (Mexico, 1907-1954), a selection of drawings, photographs and a collection of her traditional Oaxaca’s dresses is also on display. Moreover, about thirty key works by Diego Rivera and Mexican contemporaries such as Lola Álvarez Bravo, María Izquierdo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo illustrate the period of artistic ingenuity in Mexico.

Historical photographs provide a glimpse of important Mexican cultural figures, especially Kahlo and Rivera, and show their unique personalities. The accent of the exhibition, however, is not into their controversial life, but rather on their fascinating oeuvres, made during a revolutionary period in Mexican history, and on the absolute admiration and support that the artists showed and gave to each other.

“With this exhibition, the Cobra Museum addresses pressing themes such as political and social engagement, free expression, emancipation and gender. Themes that are all the more important in our society in these turbulent times. We hope to inspire the public in our museum with the fascinating work of Kahlo and her contemporaries” – guest curator Stefan van Raay said.

“We are enormously proud to have brought this international top collection to Amstelveen. This would not have been possible without the support of our partners, the funds involved and private donors. I hope that the beautiful works of art can give the public hope, inspiration and strength in these difficult times” – said Lillian Bóza, director of the Cobra Museum of Modern Art.

The event was a great success for Mexico, a country who celebrates every aspect of its life. Among all national events, “El Grito” is perhaps the greatest one. At Cobra Museum in Amstelveen, we all shouted many times from the bottom of our hearts: one, two, three, “Viva Mexico!”.

The exhibition will remain open until Sunday October 3rd.

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