A digital fresco is also on display at the museum

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As you enter the Portland Museum of Art, you’ll see a colorful mural with legendary artist Frida Kahlo staring at you.

Until April 3, the Portland Museum of Art will feature a mural painted by three “Latinx” artists. The museum has referred to the artists with the gender-neutral term Latinx.

According to the museum, the mural showcases Kahlo’s many identities — as mixed-race (German and indigenous Mexican), as a gender fluid, as well as being a polio and accident survivor. The mural is under the artistic direction of Hector H Hernandez in collaboration with Angennette Escobar and Christian J. Barrios.

Victor Hugo Garza’s digital fresco is also projected above the accompanying work.

The three artists working on the mural located at the Portland Art Museum. (Courtesy of Portland Museum of Art)

“I know the exhibit isn’t just about (Kahlo), it’s about Mexican modernism, but I decided to focus on the image of Frida Kahlo,” Hernandez said. “Not only was she a participant or an actor in this artistic movement in Mexico, but also because she has an impact on our lives, especially nowadays.”

Currently, an exhibition features the works of iconic Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera on display at the museum.

The exhibition highlights Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, which explores the avant-garde cultural movement in Mexico at the start of the 20th century. Featuring more than 150 works, including paintings and works on paper collected by Jacques and Natasha Gelman alongside period photographs and clothing, the exhibition will also feature cherished works by Kahlo and Rivera.

As for the mural, Hernandez and the other artists began painting the mural six weeks ago. They all decided to paint it in front of visitors as they entered the museum.

Hernandez is used to painting murals in front of other members of the community and said actively painting inside the museum gave him the opportunity to talk to patrons as they passed.

Hector H Hernandez, the lead artist behind the creation of a mural at the Portland Art Museum, poses with the artwork while painting. (Courtesy of Portland Museum of Art)

“Many school buses arrive and students from different schools in the area attend this exhibition. It’s a great opportunity to interact with them because it’s something I’ve been doing for many years, which is teaching,” he said.

As lead artist, he also guided Escobar and Barrios to “consider the experience they had” when creating the mural.

Hernandez added that the mural is important because it is a way for communities to have their voices heard.

“It’s part of the legacy of Mexican muralism. This artistic [influence] in the walls of buildings,” he explained.

He hopes the mural will inspire other museums to open their doors to local artists.

“It’s important to bring the voice of the community to local communities,” Hernandez added.

Hernandez will hold an online conference conference on March 31 to discuss the contributions of Mexican Modernism to the United States and the world.


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