“A Ribbon Around A Bomb” by Suhaly Bautista, The Earth Warrior
Opening date: Friday July, 11, 6:30pm
Exhibit dates: Friday, July 11 - Sunday, September 28, 2014
Selected photographs are from the remarkably ambitious project inspired by the life and work of Frida Kahlo, and mirrors them against womyn featured in the work as political revolutionary and feminist. The series contains 21 color portraits and the accompanying written reflections of womyn who Bautista considers vivacious, unapologetic, passionate and courageous –all qualities shared with the legendary Kahlo. It is an ode to the femininity and grace Frida embodied, coupled with the strength, pain, aggression and revolution, which were unvarying constants in her life.
|Photograph by Suhaly Bautista|
In 1938 André Breton, surrealist movement founder, described Frida Kahlo's art as reminiscentof "a ribbon around a bomb," a label which would later inspire the title of the 1992documentary about the Mexican artist, political revolutionary and feminist. Today, Breton’s description serves as the motivation behind this photographic document / portraiture series,which examines the myriad of dualities featured in Frida Kahlo’s life and work and mirrors them against womyn in my own life. The series contains 21 digital color portraits and the accompanying written reflections of womyn who I consider vivacious, unapologetic, passionate and courageous – all qualities shared with the legendary Kahlo.
Having lived through the Mexican Revolution, Frida’s life and art was inspired not only by the context of her violent environment but also by the tragedies, pain and struggles of her personal life. This series is an ode to the femininity and grace Frida embodied, coupled with the strength,pain, aggression and revolution, which were unvarying constants in her lifestyle and art. Ribbons,which Frida often inventively wove into her hair, symbolize sensitivity and elegance, while bombs represent violence through explosion and outburst –of which Frida is known to have had her fair share. The imagery of a bomb laced with a ribbon speaks to the contrasts Kahlo experienced and inhabited. The finesse, femininity and grace of a ribbon matched with the vigor, aggressiveness and threat (not necessarily negative) of the way Frida lived her life, inspired her paintings, but also reminds me of the way my 21 muses live their own lives – in a way that is simultaneously Feminine and Fearless.
Frida focused her work mainly on herself and her reality. Her physical, as well as her
psychological wounds were manifested on canvas. As a result, her art is hugely centered on self reflection,which inspired the storytelling aspect of this series. In “A Ribbon Around A Bomb,” asked muses to reflect on one characteristic that makes them powerful, to tell me what makes them a “bomb,” and to complete the phrase; “I am strong because I am….” In this way, I am able to acknowledge the self-meditation that was such a critical and powerful aspect of Kahlo’s masterpieces. What’s more, these statements give us, as an audience, insight into the qualities we personify, value, rely on and embody as womyn and girls – our cores, our foundations, the weapons we wield to overcome life’s obstacles with confidence and finesse.
Power and womanhood can and do co-exist. I hope this series inspires womyn and girls to identify,define and embrace whatever it is that gives them strength.
Like Kahlo, the muses in “A Ribbon Around A Bomb” are an artistic portrayal of the matrimony between femininity and force, between grace and guts and most importantly, they are my reminders that dreams are realities too.