Review by Sadhana Ramchander

Book translated from German by Gita Wolf

Frida Folk celebrates, in an unusual manner, the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and her many ‘avatars’.

This is indeed a fascinating book! It documents an unbelievable variety of interpretations of Frida­—the woman and the artist—by crafts-people and artists from all over the world. From murals to traditional tin shrines to hand bags and cushion covers to T-shirts and clay figurines, this book features them all. In the process, it entices you to read more about Frida, and also to see and understand her own paintings, which by the way, are NOT featured in this book.

I found the chapter on the art of the Aguilar Sisters very interesting. Their folk figures are original and unique. One of the sisters makes a Frida figurine with a child, even though Frida never had a child. This artist says, “maybe she didn’t have one when she was alive, but now that she’s dead, she gets one in my work.” It takes courage to say this, and only another artist can muster this courage!

The chapters are short, the writing lucid, and the book well laid out, bright and cheerful. The last part of the book titled, “Frida waits at every corner” is a collection of Fridamania photographs by Rafael Doniz.

Frida Folk is not a book you read and put away. It is a book you want to keep re-reading and looking at. And at the end of it, it makes you want to start your own collection of Frida memorabilia. The book reiterates Frida’s cult status and the fact that it is indeed very rare for an artist to be as popular as her, anywhere in the world.

Frida’s sister, Christina Kahlo, is a guest author. The chief photographer is Rafael Doniz. Published by Tara Books, Chennai, India, the book has been designed by Ragini Siruguri and production supervised by C. Arumugam. The German version is titled Frida Pop.