Casa Ortiz celebrates Frida Kahlo with a two-week long exhibition


Nicole Lopez

Estrada also painted Kahlo as a dark angel, which was intended to represent that she was flawed just like everyone else, according to Estrada.

Nicole Lopez, Multimedia Editor

Socorro Art Gallery, Casa Ortiz, wrapped up its series of its Frida Kahlo-themed show July 9.  

The two-week exhibition, run by local artists, Moises Garcia and Blanca Estrada, aimed to celebrate the artist’s life. To Estrada, there was no better time to have this series than the month of July because Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907. 

“A lot of people know that,” Estrada said about Kahlo’s birthday in July, “but they don’t know her story.” 

Estrada featured several paintings of Kahlo in various settings. In Estrada’s painting, “For Her Pleasure,” she is shown with Diego Rivera, her husband, who was also an artist and a significant figure in Kahlo’s life. In another painting by Estrada, Arbol de Esperanza (Tree of Hope), Kahlo is shown being reincarnated into a tree, which Estrada said aims to depict Kahlo as a mother of nature in the Mexican desert.  

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  • Moises Garcia had several portraits of Frida Kahlo hung throughout the gallery at Casa Ortiz.

  • Blanca Estrada (right) assisted customers throughout the show. She also sold Garcia’s because he was out of town on the second Frida Kahlo art show.

  • Many of the vendors sold Frida Kahlo-themed art in addition to Moises Garcia’s and Blanca Estrada’s paintings.

  • The event ran from 5 to 11 pm. People could enjoy music and food vendors outside of the gallery.

  • Estrada found it important to showcase Frida Kahlo with her husband, Diego Rivera, because he was also an artist and a great deal of inspiration for Kahlo’s art.

  • In the main hall and opening of the gallery, there were sculptures, paintings, and decorations intended to honor Frida Kahlo and her life.

  • Estrada also painted simple portraits of Kahlo, in addition to Garcia, because she also wanted to capture her look through vibrant colors.

  • Estrada also painted Kahlo as a dark angel, which was intended to represent that she was flawed just like everyone else, according to Estrada.

  • “Arbol de Esperanza” was one of Estrada’s most successful paintings at the show. Estrada wanted to depict Kahlo as a mother of nature.

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“I never wanted to copy her art,” Estrada said, “I wanted to make my own version of what I thought her story was.”  

Garcia’s goals was to highlight the power of the late Mexican artist’s image through his artwork.  

“I was tying in the mystery of her with some of the paintings as if she’s looking at you through the canvas,” Garcia said. “You learn and you read so much about a person or an artist and the art just comes out of you naturally.”  Most of Garcia’s featured work for the show were portraits of Kahlo.  

Casa Ortiz began hosting art, music, comedy, and poetry exhibitions  in October 2020. The goal of the gallery is to provide local artists with the opportunity to display their pieces and tell their stories.  

“I think this is a successful gallery not only because the building is beautiful but, more importantly, it’s the artists that reside here,” Garcia said.  

The building was constructed in the 1700s and it lied in the historic district in Soccoro, which has become a growing art scene in El Paso. The gallery is typically ran by and features regular local artists, Diego Martinez, Nico Antuna, and Gabriel Marquez, who also had their pieces featured in the Kahlo art series.  

In addition to the Frida-themed paintings, vendors sold Frida-themed merchandise, such as jewelry and purses. The gallery also had live Mariachi music and many other vendors selling their own art and creations. 

Garcia, although unable to attend the second Kahlo show, said the series resulted in a great turnout.  

“I’m sure it was easily over a thousand people that showed up,” Garcia said. “I couldn’t be more grateful to the people here at Casa Ortiz and to everybody that supported it because it was an amazing show.” 

Estrada said that Casa Ortiz plans on holding more special events honoring Mexican history, such as Mexican Independence Day and Díia de Los Muertos. Estrada said she is also pitching the idea of celebrating more prominent figures in Mexican culture through art shows at Casa Ortiz.  

“I think she was such an amazing artist,” Estrada said about Kahlo. “I would love to make more art shows that commemorate beautiful people like that.”