At Casa Azul in Coyoacan, Mexico City, one of the largest collections of folk art ex-votos (also called retablos) hangs along with pre-Columbian art and memorabilia collected by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
They were avid supporters of artists who had no formal training but who represented the naive, populist art of Mexico.
Ex-votos are small devotional paintings that offer thanks or prayers to a saint for a gift granted, wish fulfilled or for good health. It usually includes a hand-written note of gratitude at the bottom of the painting.
Hollie Taylor is a North Carolina artist who loves Mexico and Frida Kahlo. On Friday, April 8, the North Carolina Crafts Gallery in Carrboro, hosts an opening reception for Hollie and artist colleague Madelyn Smoak from 6-9 p.m., Dreaming of Frida: Hollie & Madelyn at Casa Azul.
Hollie has adapted the ex-voto concept to offer thanks to Frida for her courage, strength, femininity, resolve and creativity by creating Frida Retablos. These are small devotional wall plaques with many of the icons and sayings that represent Frida Kahlo.
As we know, Frida’s health issues — childhood polio and a debilitating accident at age 18 that rendered it impossible for her body to carry a child — defined her and shaped her art. French artist Andre Breton named her a surrealist, a brand she refuted.
She was a woman who painted her emotions and that is what makes her a great artist. We can identify with her pain, passion and joy.
Hollie captures the spirit of Frida Kahlo in the retablos she created for this show. At the gallery, the retablos are offered at $58 USD.
You can order your retablo from Hollie at a direct-from-artist price. They are lightweight, ready for hanging, made from collected objects on hand-painted rice-paper covered foam core.
Hollie also teaches retablo workshops in her Chapel Hill home studio. Email her at email@example.com her for details about ordering and scheduling a workshop.