Sydney Festival 2023 has today opened the doors to its signature event, Frida Kahlo: The Life of An Icon.
The exhibition will take over The Cutaway in Barangaroo with nine rooms of multi-sensory experiences exploring the life and work of one of modern history’s most influential artists.
NSW Minister for Tourism and the Arts Ben Franklin said the extraordinary exploration of one of the greatest cultural icons of the 20th century was the perfect way to open Sydney Festival and also a “must-see” exhibition at this year’s Sydney Festival.
“Frida Kahlo: The Life of An Icon provides audiences with a uniquely immersive experience through interactive spaces, incorporating photographs, films, digital environments, collector’s items, music and live performance.
“This incredible Frida Kahlo exhibition is expected to draw thousands of visitors to Sydney and inject $3 million into the NSW economy.”
Seventy years on from her death, Frida Kahlo’s work, spirit and story continues to surprise and inspire people across the world. She is celebrated in Mexico for her attention to Mexican and indigenous culture and by feminists for her depiction of the female experience and form.
Kahlo is remembered for her colourful and uncompromising self-portraits, pain and passion, and bold, vibrant colours.
She is also seen as a symbol of strength in the face of tragedy in health and love; an openly bisexual feminist icon who spurned gender stereotypes; a bold champion of the original and unusual.
Kahlo suffered from polio as a child and nearly died in a bus accident as a teenager. She began to focus heavily on painting while recovering in a body cast.
Her physical and emotional pain are depicted starkly on canvases, as is her turbulent relationship with her husband and fellow artist Diego Rivera who she married twice. Of her 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits.
Frida Kahlo: The Life of An Icon is co-created by the Frida Kahlo Corporation and the renowned Spanish digital arts company Layers of Reality, and the multi-sensory experience features nine transformational spaces.
The exhibition at The Cutaway is one way the Sydney Festival is reimagining a range of Sydney’s iconic and undiscovered venues, from the CBD to Western Sydney, with 25 days of site-specific programming to enable audiences to view Sydney from a new perspective.
Sydney Festival runs from January 5 – 29, 2023.