Borderland Fridas

This Saturday, July 1, El Paso art collective The Borderland Fridas will celebrate the 110th birthday of the widely cherished Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Called “Homenaje a Frida Kahlo,” the event will honor her legacy through live music, dance and a plethora of Frida-inspired art outside the Alamo Drafthouse.

Motivated by the late painter’s powerful self-portraits and the symbolism in her work, artists Pamela Enriquez-Courts and Michelle Padilla formed The Borderland Fridas six years ago.

“We wanted to focus on a lot of women’s issues and women in the arts,” Padilla said. “People don’t see art like Frida’s anymore.”

Saturday’s event will begin at 12 p.m. with a ceremonial blessing by Danza Azteca Omecoatl, a local group that continues ancestral and indigenous traditions through dance and prayer.

Art workshops focusing on self-expression will begin at 12:30 p.m. with a canvas session for children ages 5-14. The adult workshop, which runs from 2-3 p.m., will have participants ages 15 and up create mini altars. Students in both sessions will create self-portraits – a nod to Kahlo’s most famous pieces.

“If you go back, Frida was the original selfie queen,” Padilla said. “She painted herself and expressed everything she was feeling and things she had gone through. A lot of times, today’s selfies are also about self-expression. You take selfies, and you usually want to capture what you’re feeling.”

A camera and printer will be available for participants to use for their self-portraits. Other supplies, including paint, markers, milagros (religious folk charms) and other trinkets will be provided. Both workshops are limited to the first 40 guests who sign up.

Alamo Drafthouse will screen the 2002 movie “Frida,” which stars Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina (as Diego Rivera), at 2:30 p.m. The movie will be introduced by UTEP Chicano studies professor Carlos Ortega and will include a Q&A session afterwards.

At 4 p.m., there will be a Frida look-alike contest in which participants can win Alamo Drafthouse prizes. Padilla stressed that the contest is also open to children and men.

A variety of artists will exhibit their work, which will be available for purchase throughout the event. Proceeds from a silent auction will benefit the event’s performers.

The event will also include a lecture by Garland Courts, the director of education for four Las Cruces museums, and performances by folklorico groups Valle del Sol and Ballet Folklorico of El Paso. Female duo Luna Y Sol will sing songs from the “Frida” soundtrack.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday party without cake. Downtown El Paso’s Blue Seal Bakery will provide a large cake with Kahlo’s famous 1930s Vogue cover portrait. The bakery will also offer pan dulce.

Aside from having fun, Padilla said she hopes the event will have a positive impact on attendees.

“We want to keep that light nice and bright and keep artists inspired,” Padilla said. “That’s what The Borderland Fridas is all about.”

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