Frida and Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting

They were two of the most famous artist couples of the 20th century, and their reputation only grew with each passing year. Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting showcases the talents of two revolutionary artists who expressed a love for their homeland and its people through their work. The distinctiveness of their work has meant that they are rarely paired together in an exhibition, but by assembling both artists in the same space, it reveals the similarities and differences that shaped their creative visions.

Recently opened at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and co-organzied with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the exhibition includes some of Kahlo’s most iconic paintings and a significant range of Rivera’s work, as well as archival photographs, a short film clip of the couple, a body cast worn and painted by Kahlo and a number of pre-Columbian artifacts.

To celebrate the annual Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead (el Dia de los Muertos), an interactive memorial to Frida and Diego was constructed by Mexican artist, Carlomango Pedro Martinez, and installed in the form of a Mexican ofrenda, offering visitors a unique way to honor the departed.

In addition to the ofrenda, the space features five papier mâché Judas figures created by Shadowland, a Toronto Island–based theatre company. Judas figures are customarily made during Mexico’s Catholic holy week (Semana Santa), and give a nod to the personal lives of Kahlo and Rivera, who famously featured Judas figures in their shared home.

Being the only Canadian stop on the tour, the exhibition ends on Jan. 20, 2013. Luckily, the AGO was fortunate to present Frida & Diego amongst its collection of more than 80,000 works of art, housed in an architectural space by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Visit for more information.

Written by Steven Carver