A creative hub in the heart of town, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki really knows how to put on a show. It’s pulling out all the stops to celebrate its fascinating new exhibition, and share the work, culture and impact of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and their peers with visitors.
Exclusive to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in Aotearoa, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico is set to be one of the most exciting arts and culture events of 2022 when it launches on Saturday 15 October, and Viva is delighted to be the exhibition’s official sponsor and print partner.
Central to the exhibition’s narrative is an in-depth exploration of the cultural and social context of the artists’ lives which were as passionate, complex and layered as their compelling artwork. With myriad events and activities lined up, the Gallery is set to help you experience the show in an unforgettable way with skilled experts and artisans, the insight of Mexican academics, authentic food and music, cinematic classics and more all helping you to gain a rich understanding of the significance of Frida and Diego’s work and the world they lived in.
See the exceptional exhibition
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico traces the legacy and impact of these two icons on Mexican culture, with more than 150 artworks including Frida’s original paintings and drawings, the work of her husband Diego, and other artists in their social sphere (like pieces by muralists David Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo and María Izquierdo). Offering a glimpse into life in mid-century Mexico, there will also be photographic work on display from Lola Álvarez Bravo, Manuel Álvarez Bravo and Nickolas Muray. An unforgettable exhibition, and one not to be missed.
Celebrate opening weekend
Nothing’s better than a fiesta, especially when there’s so much to celebrate! To kick off the show, Auckland Art Gallery will be bringing Frida and Diego’s world to life across two dynamic days. There will be food to try (tacos!), live mariachi music to listen to, and you can try your hand at some crafts, if you’re feeling particularly inspired. Free to attend, it’s a vibrant, fun event for groups and whānau, so make a weekend of it. Free, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 October, 10am to 5pm.
Attend an insightful lecture
An absolutely fascinating period of art and social history, there’s plenty to learn about Frida, Diego, Mexico and more. To go deep on these richly layered topics, as part of its Members programme (THE programme for all the culture lovers!), the Gallery will be hosting a series of illustrated talks: How Frida Kahlo and Mexican Modernism thrived. The series consists of three lectures. Art, power and a cosmic race: The cultural revolution of Modern Mexico (1917–1950), presented by Dr Priscila Pilatowsky Goñi, discusses how the Mexican revolution spurred historic political, cultural and social upheaval, and how this was reflected in the art and culture of the period. Photography in mid-20th century Mexico: émigrés, refugees and Mexican modernism, presented by Dr Leonard Bell, will look at how displaced people and migrants contributed to art in Mexico at that time. Beyond Frida Kahlo’s style: Textile identities in Mexico, presented by Dr Diana Albarrán González, explores Frida’s distinctive approach to dressing, from Indigenous textile artisans to the political statement her fashion choices made, and how she’s influenced style and culture. Gallery Members $73, Students $48, General Admission $150 (price includes an annual Gallery membership). Sunday 6 November, 10am to 2.30pm.
Make a night of it
A truly special, well-considered way to experience the sounds and flavours of Mexico, ¡Viva México! a social, after-hours offering presents a taste of authentic Mexican culture. Edmundo Farrera and the team from local mezcal bar La Fuente will be serving up a feast of barbecue delicacies, wines and (of course) mezcal. There will also be entertainment from the Ollin Yoliztli dance group, a mariachi band and a DJ, giving you the chance to have a real fiesta. Gallery Members $30, General Admission $55. Wednesday 23 November, 6pm to 9pm
See some cinema
A rare screening opportunity in Aotearoa, the Gallery will be showing two classic films about the Mexican Revolution in its auditorium Cuartelazo (1977) and the unsubtitled Los de Abajo (1976). Free, bookings essential. Sunday 20 November, 11am to 3pm. Due to some violence and nudity, these films are restricted to ages 18 years and over.
Feel the love
Presented in partnership with Viva, this heartwarming event is inspired by the artists’ unique, passionate relationship a story you can read all about in Viva Magazine – Volume Nine, an issue dedicated to love in all its forms one that challenged norms at the time, and had a considerable influence in Frida and Diego’s art. Feel the love will see three creative couples talking with event chair and gender equity consultant Angela Meyer about their love, lives and the journey of their relationships offering an insightful glimpse into their diverse stories, much like Frida expressed through her work. Free, bookings essential. Saturday 19 November, 2- 3.30pm.
Free for all
Women and Self Portraiture will see Associate Professor Linda Tyler sit down with photographer and  Viva Magazine contributor Yvonne Todd, alongside fellow artists Dame Robin White and Claudia Kogachi, to discuss the significance of self-portraiture for women artists a medium Frida Kahlo used to radical effect. Free. Tuesday 8 November, 5.30-8pm. Also free to attend, learn about the tradition of Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). Free, Tuesday 1 to Sunday 6 November, 10am to 5pm.
Plan ahead
With the exhibition running until Sunday 22 January, there’s also plenty to enjoy at the beginning of 2023 giving you reasons to go back again and again. Well-timed for the school break, the Gallery’s Mexican-themed School Holiday Programme runs January 9-27. There are also several free events in January, including La Fiesta, a whānau-friendly festival of Mexican culture, Saturday 14 January 2023 (proudly supported by Auckland Council and the city centre targeted rate) and Animalia of Frida, which sees an Auckland Zoo expert at the Gallery sharing their knowledge about the animals that famously feature in the artist’s paintings. Sunday 22 January 2023, 2-3pm.
Experience the Gallery shop
Support artisans of Aotearoa and Mexico. The Gallery shop has partnered with Trade Aid, Xutu and Made in Mexico to source authentic, handmade Mexican pieces. They’ve also collaborated with local makers to develop an exclusive range, including cushions, prints, jewellery, kids’ products and more!
The must-see exhibition this year for priority entry, purchase exhibition tickets in advance via eventfinda.co.nz, or (capacity allowing) buy tickets at the Gallery on the day of your visit. Get yours now; tickets are $24.50 for adults, $19.50 for seniors, students and community card holders, or free for Gallery Members and children under 12 (accompanied by an adult). Find out more about the exhibition and its supporting events at aucklandartgallery.com/fridakahlo
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