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Frida's Garden

Airdate: February 9, 2017
A highly successful exhibition from New York city is being shared with Arizona where it is attracting record crowds at Tucson botanical gardens. “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life” focuses on the famous Mexican painter and her “Blue House” in Mexico City. We take you to that exhibit.

Category: Culture

Keywords: Frida Kahlo, gardens, ,

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JOSE: FRIDA KAHLO: ART, GARDEN, LIFE IS A POPULAR EXHIBIT FROM NEW YORK THAT'S ATTRACTING RECORD CROWDS AT THE TUCSON BOTANICAL GARDENS. THE EXHIBIT FOCUSES ON THE FAMOUS MEXICAN PAINTER AND HER BLUE HOUSE, THE CASA AZUL IN MEXICO CITY. KAHLO HAD WANTED TO BE A DOCTOR BUT HER LIFE CHANGED FOREVER IN 1925 WHEN SHE WAS SEVERELY INJURED IN A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT. SHE TOOK UP PAINTING DURING HER RECOVERY AND WOULD EVENTUALLY GAIN AN INTERNATIONAL FOLLOWING THAT CONTINUES TO THIS DAY. WE HEAR ABOUT THE EXHIBIT FROM K-U- A-T REPORTER TONY PANI-AGUA.

SOUNDBITE: A COUPLE YEARS AGO, I WAS AT AN AMERICAN PUBLIC GARDEN CONFERENCE MEETING AND A COLLEAGUE, KAREN DOGMAN WHO IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF EXHIBITION FOR THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN MENTIONED THEY WERE AWAITING TO HEAR ABOUT A GRANT AWARD AND I SAID WHAT KIND OF GRANT? AND SHE SAID WE ARE GOING TO MOUNT A FRIDA KAHLO EXHIBIT. THE MINUTE I HEARD THAT I THOUGHT TUCSON NEEDS THIS. WE HOSTED THE EXHIBITION MAY TO OCTOBER 2015 AND HAVE BEEN WORKING ON IT THREE OR FOUR YEARS IN ADVANCE. WE DO SEVERAL FLOWER SHOWS AND HAVE A 250 ACRE GARDEN SO THE VENUES ARE SPREAD OUT. WE WERE ABLE TO SECURE A NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES GRANT BUT IN ORDER TO GET THAT THEY WANT THE WORK YOU PUT INTO THE EXHIBITION TO LIVE ON. WE IMMEDIATELY STARTED LOOKING FOR PARTNERS AND THE TUCSON BOTANICAL GARDEN WAS A GREAT FIT.

SOUNDBITE: SHE SAID WHAT PARTS OF THE EXHIBIT DO YOU WANT? I SAID EVERYTHING. EXCEPT THE ARTWORK WE COULDN’T ACCEPT AND A FEW HISTORICAL ITEMS. I SAID JUST PACK IT UP ALL AND SHIP IT. AND PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE WAS ABLE TO RE-CREATE IT AND REBUILD IT. IT IS HAS BEEN A LABOR OF LOVE. THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY PARTNERED TO MAKE SURE THIS HAPPENED. READY?

SOUNDBITE: IT IS OPEN.

SOUNDBITE: THIS IS NOT ONLY A CELEBRATION OF FRIDA KAHLO AS A MEXICAN A CELEBRATION OF FRIDA KAHLO AS A HUMAN BEING. MORE THAN THAT, A CELEBRATION OF THE MEXICAN COMMUNITY WORKING IN THE UNITED STATES, ARIZONA AND TUCSON. THIS IS A GREAT OCCASION.

SOUNDBITE: I THINK IT IS WONDERFUL. THE COLORS. THE VIBRANCY, THE BLUE AND THE MARIGOLD, THE BRIGHT ORANGE. ITS JUST SO CREATIVE, ITS FUN.

SOUNDBITE: IN NEW YORK, IT WAS AN INTERNAL EXHIBITION WITH OUTSIDE ASPECT AND A GALLERY AND POETRY WALK. TRANSLATING THAT TO TUCSON WAS EXCITING WHEN I GOT THE PHONE CALL. WHEN I CALL MY HOMETOWN, I GREW UP IN YUMA AND SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN TUCSON, WENT TO SCHOOL HERE. WHEN THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN CALLED ME AND SAID THIS IS HAPPENING AND THEY KNEW I WAS GOING TO BE ECSTATIC ABOUT IT IS THE WAY I REMEMBER IN MEXICO CITY ORIGINALLY; OPENED TO THE SKY.

SOUDNBITE: THIS IS AMAZING. I AM THRILLED TO SEE THE LOVE AND CREATION THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN PUT INTO THIS EXHIBITION LIVING A LONGER LIFE HERE IN TUCSON.

SOUNDBITE: I AM REALLY INTERESTED IN NATIVE PLANTS AND IN GARDENS. I WAS VERY CURIOUS TO SEE HOW THEY WOULD -- WHAT HER GARDEN LOOKED LIKE. THE BOTANICAL GARDENS WAS LUCKY TO GET THIS EXHIBIT. I READ IT IS ONLY ONE OF TWO IN THE COUNTRY. THIS IS A REAL COUP FOR THE GARDEN.

SOUNDBITE: IT IS GORGEOUS AND INSIGHT TO LIFE AND WHAT SHE IS ALL ABOUT WHICH I DIDN'T KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT. IT IS ENLIGHTENING.

SOUNDBITE: SHE IS REALLY THE EPITOME OF PERSONAL. WHAT MADE HER SPECIAL WAS NOT ONLY HER SURREALIST WORKS THAT WERE VERY PERSONAL AND QUITE CHALLENGING, BUT HER OWN STYLE, SHE MELDED THE IDEA OF EUROPEAN MODERNISM WITH MEXICAN INDIGENOUS CULTURE. A LOT OF HER IMAGERY COME FROM THAT SENSIBILITY AND CERTAINLY HER DRESS AND LATER, THE CONTEMPORARY FOLK ARTISTS HAVE BEEN INFLUENCED BY HER SO YOU WILL SEE CHICANO ARTISTS OR FOLK ARTISTS EMULATING HOW SHE LOOKS. WE HAVE THIS WONDERFUL PIECE BY JOSEPHINA AGUIALR, A JUHAWKA FOLK ARTIST. AND IN OUR COLELCTION, WE HAVE A DOUBLE HEADED FRIDA AND IS PUTTING HER ON THIS SPECIAL CULT CELEBRITY STATUS, PUTTING HER ON A PEDESTAL. FOR BEING A CHAMPION OF THE FOLK ARTIST FROM MEXICO. AND THEN WE HAVE ANOTHER ARTIST, DAVID SUNAYO WHO IS A CHICANO AND MURAL ARTIST FROM THIS AREA AND HE OFTEN PAINTED HER IMAGE. WHEN YOU GO TO SEE THE FESTIVALS AROUND DIA DE LOS MUERTOS, A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL DRESS UP AS FRIDA SO SHE’S BECOME ALMOST AS MUCH AS AN ICON AS THE VIRGIN OF GUADALUPE BECAUSE OF SUCH A RECOGNIZABLE IMAGE.

SOUNDBITE: WE HOPE PEOPLE FEEL THAT INSPIRATION WHEN THEY COME AND READ ABOUT FRIDA KAHLO AND SEE HOW NATURE INSPIRED HER TO DO THE WORK SHE DID. I KNOW IT IS DIFFICULT. AS A BOTANICAL GARDEN DIRECTOR YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WAYS TO INSPIRE PEOPLE TO BECOME ENVIRONMENTALISTS, TO BECOME GARDENERS, TO BECOME APPRECIATORS OF NATURE WHO MIGHT NOT OTHERWISE WALK INTO OUR DOORS. THIS GIVES US ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A CONNECTION WITH SOMEONE WHO MIGHT NOT BE A BOTANICAL GARDEN OR EVEN AN APPREICATOR AND SHOW THEM ALL WE HAVE TO OFFER WHICH IS MUCH MORE THAN EVEN FRIDA KAHLO. THERE IS A LOT OF COMPONENTS IN THIS WONDERFUL URBAN GARDEN IN THE MIDDLE OF TUCSON.

JOSE: THE EXHIBIT IS PART OF A COOPERATIVE EFFORT BETWEEN THE BOTANICAL GARDENS, THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA, PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, THE CONSULATE OF MEXICO AND OTHER GROUPS. IT WILL BE ON DISPLAY IN TUCSON UNTIL THE END OF MAY 2017.