“Frida by colors:” Fourth Friday starts a new Indianapolis tradition

Friday, July 26
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Fonseca-Du Bois Gallery at the Indianapolis Liberation Center

The Fonseca-Du Bois Gallery powered by Arte Mexicano en Indiana welcomes local self-taught mixed media visual artist, art educator, and curator Angelita Hampton for a new Indianapolis tradition: “Frida by colors: An annual exhibition by artists of color inspired by Frida Kahlo!”

Hampton approaches her artwork as a creator and participant, allowing the process and the experience to play a part in the creation. This allows the unexpected or accidental to lead her work in new, non traditional directions. She combines complex layers of vibrant color and texture with portraits that mimic the unfinished impressions of stamps and stencils. Her work can be seen like a worn or weathered painting on the rough landscape of walls.

A revolutionary artist and activist

Born on July 7, 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico City, Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón was a revolutionary artist and organizer. As an artist, she is particularly well-known for her portraits, self-portraits, and other works that were inspired by Mexican history, culture, politics, and social realities but were often accompanied by strong autobiographical elements. While the tradition of magical realism is evident in all of her work, later in life, Kahlo would categorize her work as “revolutionary realism,” as a contribution to advancing “the line set down by the Party.”

As an organizer, she was a lifelong revolutionary. She joined the youth wing of the Mexican Communist Party (PCM) at 16-years-old and stayed as a member of the Party after the government of Lázaro Cárdenas outlawed it in 1925. Although Kahlo was expelled from the PCM for a period of time, she continued organizing and later, when her health recovered, rejoined the Party. She died in her hometown on July 13, 1954—still an active communist organizer.

About Angelita Hampton

Hampton’s art practice was born out of a desire to reflect the beauty and depth of character of people of color as a way to counter popular narratives. Angelita is inspired by and dedicated to social justice, often featuring it in her art and writing. She reconnected to visual art just before the start of the U.S. COVID pandemic, finding it increasingly difficult to use writing to express her outrage at the social injustices plaguing the country. As a response, art became her primary creative and emotional outlet.

Hampton returned to her hometown of Indianapolis six years ago and centered her practice within the context of community work. Her college and graduate work in African American Studies along with her time living abroad in Mexico, deeply informed her creative activism.

“My experience living in Mexico twenty years ago had a tremendous impact in propelling me toward a focus on social justice which is a primary subject of my writing and visual art,” said Hampton. She reflected on the similarities she shares with Kahlo:

I have long since considered Frida Kahlo as my kindred spirit. This sentiment has been affirmed many times over during the past few years. I often romantically imagine that she was the me of another time and place. From her artistic aesthetics and personal style, to her love of her garden and beloved pets, to her political inclinations, the sense of kinship abounds. Quite notably we also share nearly a lifetime of chronic and debilitating pain. Both of us with lively and joyous spirits, I too, have struggled to find the energy and strength to create when my body is weak and failing me. I often think of her experience as motivation to push through and continue creating.

Hampton notes, “There is power in the collective. As Frida Kahlo is quoted as saying, ‘I paint my own reality.’ I create art from my reality, but I also believe I can create new realities for the world.”

Featured Image: A composite of Angelita Hampton’s work (right) and “Retrato de Frida Kahlo con oleo sobre madera” por Saed de los Santos (left).

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