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Hungarian national gallery

Expat Life

Frida Kahlo: A Life of Suffering, Love and Passion in Budapest

September 23, 2018
44LettersFridaKahlo

While some people dismiss museums and art galleries as boring places to spend an evening, I have visited many times over the years. While studying at The Royal Conservatory of Music, The Royal Ontario Museum was just next door and offered discounts to students on Friday nights. In my 30s, I attended frequently with my sister, Kriszta and my friend, Allison. Even Andrew and I spent one of our first dates on a Friday evening at the ROM. And now here in Budapest, we find ourselves at the Hungarian National Gallery’s Frida Kahlo exhibition. Frida Kahlo is surely one the most iconic female artists of the twentieth century.

FridaAndrew

“Viva Mexico” Night

Last Saturday evening the Gallery hosted the “Viva Mexico” event. The event was in celebration of the “Día de la Independencia”. Not only did we get to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit, but we sampled Mexican food and entertainment.  Those of you who know us well, know that we are especially fond of Mexico.  Andrew and I have visited there at least once a year over the past decade. However, unsurprisingly, the food on offer was nowhere near authentic – I think the nachos had that gross plastic cheese on them. Of course, if you are my sister, that is your favourite kind of nacho cheese 😉  However, the music was a completely different story…

The Mariachis

I LOVE mariachis.  Honestly, this was the main reason we went to this particular event. I love the instruments. I love the harmonies. I love their outfits. I love it all.

Like Hungarian Gypsy music, Mariachi music is also deemed a cultural heritage by UNESCO.  This mariachi band, Mariachi Sin Fronteras, is actually from Slovakia with the leader of the band originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. However, they are faithfully carrying on the traditions of mariachi rhythms of sones and huapangos. They were wonderful!

The Frida Kahlo Exhibit

This temporary exhibit features over thirty paintings and other works by the artist. The selection features the artist’s hallmark self-portraits, and also includes such major works as her very first canvas, painted in 1927. There are also paintings and portraits inspired by the other people and events in her life. The works are suffused with symbolism and offer a glimpse inside the evocative, yet physically and mentally tormented inner world of Frida Kahlo.

The exhibit is beautifully laid out and all descriptions are in both English and Hungarian. This makes it very easy for expats to enjoy fully – unlike some other exhibits that are only in Hungarian. The works on display are magnificent, vibrant and emotional.

The Hungarian Connection

Did you know that Frida had a Hungarian lover for over ten years? Me neither!  One of things on display is a love letter she wrote – in Hungarian – to Miklós Muray.  Miklós Muray was a Hungarian-born Jew who photographed Kahlo for over a decade in New York, Paris and Mexico City. I don’t want to spoil the story, so I encourage you to visit the exhibit yourself to learn more.

FRIDA KAHLO – Masterpieces from the Museo Dolores Olmedo, Mexico City 

The exhibit is open until November 4, 2018.

Entry is HUF 3200 and tickets can be bought online or at the Gallery.