Walks around Mexico-city (page 2 of 2)
The next day my museum toil continued. If we believe the Internet recommendations “Blue House” of Frida Kahlo in Coyoacan is among the mandatory list of the capital “minimum tour”. Splash of fashion for the artist in Europe and the United States goes on for more than two decades. The best biographic books about her have been written in the USA. Americans dominate among the visitors. Interest to the personality of Frida Kahlo was even more heated up by the film with Mexican actress Salma Hayek starring. Unfortunately, the continuous stream of visitors, visible tendency of the museum authorities to commercialisation, abundance of guards at the territory – did not contribute to the aura of the “Blue House”. After “passing” through the halls of the museum and shrieking ringing of the electronic alarm (again somebody stepped beyond the line of “permissibility”) you feel disappointment from all you have seen. Ban to take pictures in the inner yard inhabited by a friendly colony of semi-wild cats and tamed squirrels, is a total absurd. There are a lot of original works of the artist in the museum, her personal items, even the diary trustingly opened its pages in the show-case – come and read. But, alas. The contact, spiritual spark, joy from long-awaited communication with the former inhabitant of the “Blue House” does appear.
The unique world of Frida and her difficult in all respects spouse – Diego Rivera – can be much better felt in another house-museum that is situated in the area of San Angel. Two “residential” cubes on concrete supports, - one is bigger and another one is smaller, - are joined by the so called bridges laid from one roof to another. The first “cube” housed the studio of Rivera, the second one was inhabited by Frida Kahlo. Everyday communication of the spouses was a risky business, as it was necessary not only to pass on the bridges but to overcome rather fragile crossbar steps, built in the walls of Frida's house. There are no such Cerberus security measures in the museum that reign in the “Blue House”. With thanks you feel:here they trust you. In this museum there are a lot of figured composition – installations. One of them is especially striking: a sitting in the arm-chair artist closely scrutinizing her freshly completed picture “Two Fridas”. Has the work been successful? Will it be understood? That is what one can see in her eyes under joined “sea-gulls” of black eye-brows.
In this restless world every year there appear more and more sincere admirers of Frida Kahlo. Somebody opens her activity for himself for the first time and joins the ranks of those who honor her as a distinctive artist, who, for many years, had unequal struggle with physical sufferings and came out victorious, having left to the humanity a unique gallery of her self-portraits. Their highest spirituality often transforms the cult of the artist activity into the cult close to the religious one. I used to see in Latin American families reproductions of Frida Kahlo portraits, which, without exaggeration, were conceived as a symbol of overcoming of sufferings and the source of the highest spirituality. An icon in a way, that does not need official approval of Vatican. There is another tendency in the approach to the artistic inheritance of Frida Kahlo – purely commercial. Reproductions of her works are very well “going” at the souvenir markets. Sometimes there is a feeling that the patroness of Mexicans Holy Virgin of Guadalupe is more rare than the portraits of Frida Kahlo. To a certain degree this is a repetition of another phenomenon of the neo-liberalism epoch - “fashion” for Ernesto Che Guevara. At the souvenir stalls of Alameda, in the boutiques “Ciudadela”, at the stalls at avenida Insurgentes and stands of “Saturday market” I used to see more than once hanging side by side shirts and T-shirts with portraits of Frida Kahlo and Legendary guerilla. New turn of commercialisation of the artist name – production of doll “Frida” and tequila of the same name.
Souvenir fever – this is an inevitable disease of every wanderer and traveller. In Mexico it acquires especially acute shape, as there is not a single village and town in the country that would not produce its own goods, oriented for the tourists. Here is a glass box with jolly skeletons playing the guitars. On the one hand it is, of course, memento mori. But on the other hand – it a quintessence of optimism! Smile in spite of all! The best place for this box is on my table. And here are onyx figures of jaguars, mythological snakes, Azteca warriors. As though they are shining from inside. It is impossible to pass by bright pictures with unsophisticated plots out of peoples' life. They are brought from the state Guerrero. It is difficult to imagine a Mexican souvenir market without a huge choice of exotic hats – sombreros, embroidered with silver and golden thread. I buy five-six such hats together, but small ones that can be attached to the bunch of keys as a key-chain. They also sell souvenirs in the House-museum of Trotsky: the best buys are cups with his portrait. At the Garibaldi Square the demand for CDs with “rancheras”, performed by the mariachis-musicians, is always steady. Only there one can get the complete classics of this genre: from “Suffering in solitude” to “Suffering because I love”.
I spent last hours of my stay in Mexico-city at the Zocalo square, above which at the 15 meter high flag-post the national flag of this country was proudly streaming. The square was full of people: traditional “Teleton” in collecting of donations for treating the physically handicapped children was going on. Singers and rock-groups changed each other at the high stage, the names of the most generous philanthrops were announced. Young men in tents, on which the posters with silhouettes of Marx-Lenin-Stalin, were selling the newspaper “Vanguardia Proletaria” organ of El Partido Comunista de Mexico (Mexican Communist Party). Next to it some amateur folklore group performed the dance dedicated to the God Huehueteotl, master of fire and time. Slightly aside were omnipresent street vendors, displaying their unpretentious goods right on the asphalt...
Till new meetings and new walks, beautiful city of Mexico!
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