Sounds of Cultura: Phoenix Fridas

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Phoenix Fridas are a group of valley artists sharing their inspiration from the works of artist Frida Kahlo. Carmen Guerrero, artist and member of the Phoenix Fridas will talk about the group.

Jose Cardenas: Tonight in SOC, they call themselves the Phoenix Fridas, valley artists on the works of Frida Kahlo. First here's some of their work. Joining me now is Carmen Guerrero, a member of the Phoenix Fridas. We're going to talk about some of the images we saw on the screen, but before we do that tell me about the Phoenix Fridas, how it was formed and what its inspiration and purpose is.

Carmen Guerrero: It was inspired by Frida Kahlo, the great Mexican artist, started by Kathy Moreo, a local author and crafter and she has talking about she's been doing craft shows all over the country. There was a movement of other groups calling themselves funny names, the Houston pistol girls. She thought, why don't we start a group called the Phoenix Fridas. That's how we came together about ten years ago.

Jose Cardenas: You have done a number of shows. Those pictures that we saw are from one this summer. But also there's an educational component. I understand some panel discussions.

Carmen Guerrero: We're going to have a panel at the Phoenix library. Every time we do an exhibition we talk about why Frida. Why she inspired each of us there are ten of us right now and we have different media, some are painters, some are beaders. I do bead work. We talk about why she inspires us and the idea is to also educate young girls or aspiring artists to find out more about this incredible artist, this amazing woman, also to find art inside themselves.

Jose Cardenas: Is one common theme? Is there one common theme that dominates the discussion?

Carmen Guerrero: Well, this coming panel discussion we're going to be talking about I paint my own realty, which is a quote from Frida's diary. She talked about painting her own realty. I think that's what we all do individually. We all have different gifts and different abilities.

Jose Cardenas: We're going to see how that's reflected in some of the pictures this. First one is an Emily Costello piece.

Carmen Guerrero: She's a painter.

Jose Cardenas: I think she has three or four that are particularly evocative of Frida Kahlo's face. We'll run through them as we're talking. This is one of hers. We have several more coming up that will just go through the screen as we're talking. This one, though, is yours.

Carmen Guerrero: Yes. It's an installation inspired by la Casa Azul, Frida and Diego Rivera's house. I was inspired by the blueness of it. It's so cool, especially in the heat.

Jose Cardenas: We have some of your handiwork.

Carmen Guerrero: I do bead work. I do earrings, necklaces and bracelets. That's my media.

Jose Cardenas: This is also a piece you've done.

Carmen Guerrero: Yes. I do mandalas. Frida Pated a lot of -- painted a lot of round things. Mandala is an even, round piece. It can be a meditative piece but it's something that's round, harmonic.

Jose Cardenas: We have several other artists whose work is represented here. I think I referenced some other pieces from Emily that we're going to have here. This is a different artist.

Carmen Guerrero: This -- we call her Banchita. She does quilting. This is the star in your eyes quilt. It's like three by five feet long.

Jose Cardenas: A theme in a lot of Mexican art and history is the serpent.

Carmen Guerrero: Yes, it takes her inspiration from her Mexican roots.

Jose Cardenas: This is very striking.

Carmen Guerrero: This is by Veronica. She calls this metro area Frida Murata. She does over lays of like the butterfly appeared the heart.

Jose Cardenas: And this seems to pick up the day of the dead theme.

Carmen Guerrero: The dead Frida.

Jose Cardenas: Another Emily Castillo?

Carmen Guerrero: Yes. This is called Las palomas, the doves. Frida always wore very Mexican dresses. That's what their painting reflects.

Jose Cardenas: Referring to --

Carmen Guerro: What I'm wearing today. A sarape. And the shawl.

Jose Cardenas: Very, very colorful.

Carmen Guerrero: Her colors are amazing. She paints in oils. She's an incredibly gifted painter.

Jose Cardenas: We have some more that we'll put up on the screen.

Carmen Guerrero: This is another one by Emily. Don't forget me. This picture that she got inspired was Frida's wedding picture. When she got married the second time to Diego she was wearing a dress similar to what she painted in that picture.

Jose Cardenas: The group has been together for ten years.

Carmen Guerrero: Right.

Jose Cardenas: What do you see going on in the future, more of these exhibitions, more education? What?

Carmen Guerrero: I think so. More exhibitions, more education. Maybe I see ourselves having like a role in our community to be fund-raisers to bringing awareness. I like to think we can raise awareness to women's issues. We haven't gotten there yet but we talk about it how can our group have a social mandate because Frida was very involved in her community, very out of the box the way she did her life.

Jose Cardenas: Even though she's been dead almost 50 years --

Carmen Guerrero: Over 50 years.

Jose Cardenas: Thank you so much for joining us to talk about Frida Kahlo. That is our show for tonight. From all of us at Horizonte, I'm Jose Cardenas. Have a good evening.

Carmen Guerrero:Artist and Member, Phoenix Fridas;

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