The Mexican artist’s works depicted her dreams, pain and feminism – but she also understood the power of performance
It’s before 10am on a Tuesday but dozens are already lining up outside the Art Gallery of New South Wales, waiting for the gallery to let them into its latest blockbuster exhibition, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Most of them are here for Kahlo, the iconoclastic Mexican artist who died aged 47 after a life marred by disability and whose work – inspired by indigenous Mexican culture and tradition – depicted her dreams, her pain, her feminism and volatile love affair with Rivera.
But, before they get through the doors, the curator, Nicholas Chambers, is giving me a tour. Chambers is young and this is the first show he’s curated at AGNSW. He talks a mile a minute and we barrel through the gallery, discussing whether or not Kahlo – who was born in 1907 and who rubbed shoulders with luminaries including Leon Trotsky and André Breton – was the world’s first selfie superstar.