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As the 70th anniversary of Frida's death is approaching her granddaughter discusses her exploitation

13 June 2024

Frida Kahlo "has been turned into a product," according to Cristina Kahlo, the granddaughter of the most famous and valuable Mexican artist in the world. The painter's sister Cristina is the son of Antonio, who also goes by the name Cristina. Cristina is also a Kahlo."Since the creation of the Frida Kahlo Corporation (FKC), there has been a total disconnect regarding the artist," she declared.

On July 13, which is also the 70th anniversary of the artist's passing, Cristina Kahlo feels that her great aunt's name was stolen from Mexicans in a "illegal" transaction. She is referring to the enterprise that commenced in 2005 and resulted in the establishment of the FKC brand in collaboration with Carlos Dorado, a businessman from Venezuela, thereby enabling the worldwide marketing of the artist's name and persona.

"That brand was created illegally because they did it by claiming my father had died and had no children. So, from the outset, it was created illegally. And regarding Carlos Dorado, well, he is a businessman who bought a brand," she points out.

Frida's father, Guillermo Kahlo, had six daughters total, two from his first marriage (Frida's half-sisters) and four from his second, as Cristina explains. Only Cristina, her great-grandmother, after whom she was named, had two children out of all of these. They were Cristina's father, Antonio, as well as her siblings Mariana Kahlo and Guillermo. Isolda was the one who started the process to establish FKC. She was also the grandmother of Mara de Anda Romeo (the Maras) and the mother of Mara Cristina Teresa Romeo Pinedo. "My father legally changed his paternal last name, Pinedo, at the age of 18, so our last name was Kahlo rather than Romeo Pinedo. He took this action for his mother, Cristina Kahlo, rather than for Frida. He didn't spend much time with his father and only kept the Kahlo surname, dropping the Pinedo one," she claims.

"The Maras" have been involved in legal battles to keep promoting the Frida Kahlo brand after Isolda's dying. Cristina, however, feels that they have made the artist into a product: "We want to admire Frida Kahlo as a painter and promote her work, not just from an anecdotal perspective. If Frida Kahlo saw what she had been turned into, it would make her furious. This shows a lack of understanding of Frida Kahlo, our Mexican identity, and the essence of what she stood for."

Cristina makes it clear that neither she nor her siblings are drawn to the business side of their great aunt. There is no contact between them and their cousins, "the Maras."People know us; we are relatives of Frida Kahlo, but we are involved in culture. My profession as a photographer brings me great satisfaction. Occasionally, I curate exhibitions, as I have done for Mexico and other countries. It's professional, ethical work, and we are not involved in this,"she states following her attendance at FILCO's downtown Coyoacán inauguration.

Read the complete article at this link.