Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution to open at the Art Gallery of South Australia

AGSA-Frida-Kahlo-Diego-on-my-mind-1943In an Australian-exclusive exhibition, Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution will open at the Art Gallery of South Australia on Friday 24 June 2023.

Featuring iconic works by two of the most influential and loved artists of the twentieth century – Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera – this exhibition will be the most comprehensive display of Mexican Modernism ever seen in Australia.

Through more than 150 works, including paintings, works on paper, photographs, video and period clothing, this major exhibition from the unrivalled Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection will introduce audiences to the couple’s radical art and politics, as well as the grand narratives surrounding the history of Mexico and its peoples over the twentieth century.

Alongside Kahlo’s mesmerising self-portraits and Rivera’s arresting depictions of Mexican culture, Frida & Diego will feature works by key Mexican Modernists including Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, Miguel Covarrubias, María Izquierdo, Carlos Mérida, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Yasumasa Morimura and others.

“Each generation brings a new lens to the profoundly inspiring figure that is Frida Kahlo. A twenty-first century muse, Kahlo is today revered as a feminist and as a singular political and creative force,” said AGSA Director, Rhana Devenport ONZM.

Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution speaks to the influence and ingenuity of art practice in Mexico and aims to recontextualise the enduring allure of Kahlo within today’s society,” said Devenport.

Robert Littman, President of the Vergel Foundation, established to oversee the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, says: “This is the largest exhibition of Mexican Modernism ever to be exhibited in Australia,” he said.

“In addition to the remarkable paintings and drawings, this edition of the Gelman Collection adds photographs and textiles that have never travelled here before.”

“We’re delighted to present Australian audiences with the opportunity to experience this important period in Mexican art history and culture – an opportunity that won’t present itself again for many, many years!” said Littman.

Through bold and stimulating exhibition design, South Australia’s renowned firm Grieve Gillett Architects will transport visitors into the world of Kahlo and Rivera, opening with the political and historical context of ‘Mexicanidad’ – the national pride that shaped Kahlo and Rivera’s love, life and work in post-revolution Mexico from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The exhibition will also feature large-scale reproductions of Rivera’s celebrated murals with their depictions of folk art and modern working life, demonstrating Rivera’s profound political and artistic influence and revealing the dramatic social and cultural shifts that occurred following the Mexican revolution.

Inspired by their home and studio ‘La Casa Azul’ and reflecting the vibrancy of Mexican culture, the exhibition will also offer audiences an intimate look into the life and artistic practice of Kahlo that forged her strong identity.

“These iconic paintings from the extraordinary Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection form the heart of this exhibition,” said Tansy Curtin, AGSA’s Curator of International Art, Pre-1980. “Close friends of Kahlo and Rivera, the Gelmans were pioneering collectors who formed an outstanding collection of works foregrounding Mexican Modernism.”

Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution will immerse visitors in the creative and vibrant milieu of Mexico’s art world in the first half of the twentieth century – from the beginnings of the Mexican cultural revolution to Kahlo and Rivera’s turbulent love affair.”

Kahlo was unflinching in her exploration of self-identity. While her physical body may have limited her, Kahlo’s resilience and creativity soared, resulting in bold and commanding statements which retain their social, cultural and feminist potency and continue to resonate with people today,” said Curtin.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a hardcover 188-page publication, produced by AGSA, and a dynamic and engaging series of public programs and events, including talks from curators and special guests, live music, a panel discussion that celebrates Kahlo’s feminist legacy, Clay & Cocktails and Paint & Sip workshops as well as pop-up appearances by famed local Mexican restaurant, La Popular Taqueria.

AGSA’s The Studio will be transformed into a garden of colour by South Australian artist Alice Lindstrom offering art lovers of all ages the opportunity to make paper cut flowers using the traditional Mexican decorative craft, ‘papel picardo’, while AGSA’s monthly Start at the Gallery events for children aged 3 – 12 promise a fiesta of fun featuring Mariachi musicians, Salsa dancing and floral headpiece workshops.

Presented alongside the exhibition, a Frida & Diego: City Trail will offer visitors to Adelaide the opportunity to experience a range of activations across the city, with Mexican-themed menu items, creative workshops, retail offers and more.

Zoe Bettison MP, Minister for Tourism and Multicultural Affairs said the event would drive thousands of visitors to South Australia over winter. “South Australia is the only place in the country where visitors can experience a Frida Kahlo painting this winter,” she said.

Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution is for all who are drawn to creativity and its influence on history and politics,” said Minister Bettison.

Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution
Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide
Exhibition: 24 June – 17 September 2023
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Frida Kahlo, born Mexico City 1907, died Mexico City 1954, Diego on my Mind (Self-portrait as Tehuana), 1943, Coyoacan, Mexico, oil on board, 76 x 61 cm; The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and the Vergel Foundation