I took Aodhan to his first Frida Kahlo art exhibition when he was under a year. A collaboration between Brussels’ BOZAR and The Museo Frida Kahlo, brought a substatial collection of her art to Belgium in 2010, which I was lucky enough to catch with my tiny son (mostly) asleep in his Ergo.
She’s always been a favourite of mine, both as a personality, and an artist; it brings me great joy to share knowledge about her work and her life with my kiddo. Buttons, books and her art work have always been mainstays about our home, but I thought that a closer look at Frida would be a great introduction to different artists and designers.
We started our study with a look through her journal. Written in Spanish, her writing is inaccesible to us, but Aodhan started asking questions while checking out her sketches and small paintings that are tucked in between her words (which are overwhelming when read in translation).
We focused on the idea of the self-portrait. We used a mirror, and a technique we have experimented with in the past, to make a reflected mirror drawing. Next, we both made use of oil pastels and heavy card, to create some self-portraits.
Studying Kahlo, is a great opportunity to look more closely at Mexico. We paid a small fee for Montessori Print Shop’s Continent Cards, and this was a perfect opportunity to revisit them. We talked about food, language, geography and traditions. Topics of culture and geography are areas that I revisit within as many authentic learning experiences as possible. I feel uncomfortable exploring and discussing culture ‘just for the sake of it’. It is important to me to ground our learning in authenticity.
And how cute is this imaginary small world? It took almost no time to create Frida’s famous ‘Blue House‘ out of a tea box. I also pulled out a number of the animals that appear in Frida’s self-portraits: monkey, dog, and snake. Instant imagination fun!
I couldn’t resist investigating the Frida’s World app for iPad. It was okay, but not brilliant. Essentially, it is a book, with some not so very interactive colouring pages. As both a parent and educator, I think I would pass if given the option to buy again.
Aodhan had a great time dressing up like Frida. I offered him a selection of Frida-esque items and he was quick to take on the role. I had to ask if he wanted me to add her famous eyebrows – which, he did. He had a great time pretending to be Frida. Highly recommend this activity for almost any age.
Of course with any topic or theme, parents and educators are going to be selective and thoughtful when compiling activities. I decided to share a limited number of Frida’s paintings with my sensitive son. Some of her works, such as Henry Ford Hospital, which I adore and have enjoyed viewing with my adult pals, would be difficult for Aodhan to ingest and complicate his current developmentally appropriate understanding of human bodies. I can’t wait to share these images with him when he is ready to digest their important messages and aesthetic beauty.
What about you? Do you save certain content for when your kiddos are more developmentally prepared to discuss them, or do you take a more Free Range approach and share art without discretion? Would love to hear your opinion.