Frida Kahlo: The truth about that brow game

A new exhibition reveals the secrets of the iconic Mexican artist's make-up bag
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Frida Kahlo: The truth about that brow game

Frida Kahlo with Olmec figurine (1939) Photograph Nickolas Muray © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives courtesy of the V&A


She’s one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century, a countercultural and feminist symbol, and thanks to a major new exhibition at the V&A in London, opening this week, visitors will be able to delve deeper into the extraordinary life and work of Frida Kahlo.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up is the first exhibition outside Mexico to display the artist’s clothes and intimate possessions, exhibiting them alongside self-portraits and photographs to offer a fresh perspective on the artist’s compelling life story.

Working in close collaboration with Museo Frida Kahlo, the exhibition features more than 200 objects from the Blue House. Intimate possessions including letters, medicines and corsets are included in the exhibition, alongside Tehuana dresses, and her iconic eyebrow pencil ‘Ebony,’ still within its original packaging, which she used to emphasise her signature mono brow.

Frida Kahlo in blue satin blouse (1939) Photograph Nickolas Muray © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

“Kahlo’s powerful style is as integral to her myth as her paintings,” says exhibition co-curator Circe Henestrosa, Head of the School of Fashion at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore. “It is her construction of identity through her ethnicity, her disability, her political beliefs and her art that makes her such a compelling and relevant icon today. Her resplendent Tehuana dresses; striking headpieces, hand-painted corsets and prosthetics masterfully masked her physical impairments but were also a form of self-expression and an extension of her art. She was definitely ahead of her time and that’s what makes her so relevant and contemporary today."

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self up opens at the V&A in London on 16 June until 4 November 2018

Photos: Courtesy of the V&A