Jovita Francisco arrived at the Walker on a somewhat chaotic Tuesday. It was Arty Pants after all and she had come with a group of young Latina women and their children to enjoy the Frida Kahlo show. She came without her childso she couldsee the show without having her jacket hem constantly tugged atby a little one.
Jovita is from Ixtlahuaca, Mexico. Her first language is the native dialect Nahuatl, then Spanish, then English. Whew! She works at the Waite House in the Phillips Neighborhood of south Minneapolis. She knew some of the students who were on the bus when the 35w bridge collapsed. Her visit to the walker was coordinated by Latinos en Accion, Cooperativo Mercado Central, and Weed and Seed. This was her first time at the Walker, and she would like to come backto see the exhibit again.
After she had gone through the exhibit, I asked her some questions as to why she thinks Frida is so popular.
Allison Herrera: How did you first hear about Frida Kahlo?
Jovita Francisco: I heard about her through exhibitions in Mexico and here in the US.
AH: Why do you think she is so popular?
JF: Because of her history and the way she suffered. Also, because of Diego Rivera. Mostly because of him.
AH: Is she as popular in Mexico as she is here?
JV: No. People in Mexico are familiar with suffering and tragedy. It’s part of who we are as a people. Life is hard in Mexico. My own life has been hard, but like Frida I am very proud. We are not victims, but we are not unfamiliar with the kind of sorrow she portrayed in her paintings. I think it is different here in the US and maybe that is why she is so popular. The images are more unique here.
AH: What was your favorite painting in the show
JF: Probably Moises. I like the way she depicted the different cultures. I also love her self portraits. I am also a painter, but not like Frida Kahlo. I draw inspiration from myself, which is like her, even though I don’t paint self portraits.