X hits on this document





9 / 11

Andrade goes on to explain Kahlo’s choice of Tehuana costume as a nationalist and revolutionary statement, and a way of identifying with Mexico’s common people, its Indians and its traditions.  Tehuana dress also pleased Diego Rivera who had fallen in love with Tehuantepec on his return from Europe (significantly after divorcing Rivera in 1940 she shed her Tehuana costume and portrayed herself in a man’s suit).

Frida Kahlo, Self Portait with Cut Hair  1940

Andrade argues that clothing “a la Tehuana” meant far more to Frida than simple populist gesturing or pleasing her husband.  Tehuana dress expressed complex mythological meanings: a mother goddess of fertility, a combination of Quetzalcoatl and the virgin of Guadalupe, enabling Frida to inhabit a different time and space:

“We are dealing with a timeless creature from a place that is more legendary than geographical…her grave expression and strong features lend her the hieratic (priestly) and haughty air of a proud and distant pre-Hispanic goddess, often depicted in a lush, tropical and exotic setting.”


Photos of Tehuanas featured prominently in 19th and early 20th C travelogues and Hugo Brueme’s México Pintoresco.  As an obviously picturesque subject, the Tehuana was ignored by Weston and Modotti until 1929, when, after the tragedy of Julio Mella's assassination, followed by a short spell in prison, Modotti escaped the repressive and asphyxiating atmosphere of Mexico City, for the security a matriarchal Tehuantepec household (claiming that this sojourn rekindled her love for Mexico).

Tina Modotti, Mother and Child 1929

Tina Modotti, Woman with Child at Market 1929

Tina Modotti, Women from Tehuantepec 1929

Tina Modotti, Two Women on a Porch 1929

Tina Modotti, Tehuantepec type 1929

These images set a trend in ethnographic portraiture which continues to this day.

Document info
Document views38
Page views38
Page last viewedThu Oct 20 20:43:23 UTC 2016