In honor of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the South Haven Center for the Arts created a series of window installations during the summer of 2020 that featured various objects illustrating Frida's love of the art created by the indigenous people of Mexico, who Frida admired greatly for their hard work and talent. Here you will see examples of the types of things Frida may have collected herself for display in her home in Mexico City, Casa Azul. There are also examples of the unique style of fashion Frida developed and was known for throughout her life.


Oaxacan Embroidery


Embroidering garments has been practiced by Mexican matriarchs for hundreds of years, and regional patterns from the Mexican states are handed down through generations to keep the tradition of embroidery alive.

Frida's mother was from Oaxaca, and from Frida's wedding in 1929 until her death in 1954, she honored peasant women by wearing their patterned creations, her favorite being those of Tehuana, Oaxaca State, Mexico. 


Oaxaca is home to several different groups of indigenous peoples—most notably the Zapotec, Nahua, and Mixtec tribes. Each has a distinctive tradition of embroidery, and were, and continue to be today, influenced by their individual social structures and views of the world.



Mexican White and Black


An Oaxacan huipil, alabaster carvings, a milagro heart, and white wedding flags were brought together with a Frida plaque, tin candelabra, ceramics, white calla lilies (one of Frida's favorite flowers) and touches of black and white fabric to create this installation.


The huipil is a traditional tunic-like garment commonly worn by indigenous women from Central Mexico to Central America. These garments are made by stitching together pieces of cloth, often cotton, but others are made from different fabrics like wool and silk. Huipil refers to anything from a blouse to a dress, worn as everyday clothing or for ceremonial events. Ribbons are often sewn into huipil worn as wedding dresses.


Milagros—meaning "miracles"—are small metal religious charms, often in the form of arms, legs, farm animals, and people praying. They are typically attached to crosses or wooden statues of saints, the Virgin Mary, or Christ, or hung on alters and shrines with red ribbons or thread. Many also carry milagros for protection and good luck.



Mexican Earth Colors


A wall hanging depicting a bird, ceramics, embroidery, and objects carved from natural wood are just a few examples of the types of objects Frida may have collected for her home at Casa Azul.



The Brights of Mexico


Some may conjure up images of desert, cactus, and stone pyramids when thinking of Mexico, which is a large part of the country's heritage. Mexico is also full of color, from the orange terra cotta tile roofs that can be seen when flying into Mexico City, to the Mexican Folk art created by it's people for centuries, including textiles, pottery, jewelry, toys, and the artwork of many Mexican artists like Frida Kahlo.



Birds, Animals, and Fish in Mexican Art


Animals, birds, and fish play a primary role in the imagery of Mexican art and craft. Frida depicted pets and other animals that made up her world in her paintings and drawings. Here you can see that animals, birds, and fish were created in many mediums and forms, from embroidered clothing, tapestries, and blankets to pottery, and wooden and clay figures.




The Colors of Frida's Kitchen



The walls, furniture, and objects in Frida's brightly-colored kitchen at Casa Azul were complemented with art, pottery, tiles, kitchen utensils, wall hangings, and flowers. The tiles, blue-rimmed glassware, green ceramic vase, colorful ceramic tray, sunflowers, Mexican doll, pottery, and other objects you see here represent objects Frida may have chosen for her kitchen.




The art center extends heartfelt thanks to artist and SHCA member Dorris Akers for her hard work designing and installing these wonderful views into Frida's surroundings with the help of SHCA Exhibitions Coordinator Noelle Malevitis. And to Jarrie Suarez, Thea Grigsby, Carol Trittschuh, Allyn Winkel, Catherine Dobbs, Sally Decardy, Maria Dias, Cristina Bishop, and Dorris, all of whom loaned objects from their collections to the art center to create these wonderful visions of the types of things Frida surrounded herself with.

Baseline Middle School students, led by their art teacher Sarah Rydecki, have created a

banner that is now part of the exterior decoration of the South Haven Center for the Arts.

This collaborative work expresses unity, diversity, and the power of the visual arts. 


When school closed in March, Mrs. Rydecki posted an art project through the district website

asking her art students to decorate the shapes of hands. Thirty artists worked on the project at

home and turned in the assignment when they came to school to clean out their lockers for

the school year.


“The original idea was not to create a banner,” explained Mrs. Rydecki. The kids were all set

to paint flowers cut out of plywood to decorate the lawn in front of City Hall as part of the

project created by the art center for the 2020 Frida Kahlo exhibition.“ It came to me organically that these hands could symbolize coming together and reaching out to help others even though they were no longer together each day at school.”


Mrs. Rydecki gave the kids complete freedom to take the project in whatever direction they wanted. One of her African American students asked if she could write Black Lives Matter on her piece of art. “It is more than appropriate; it’s necessary, it’s important to symbolize peace and love,” said Rydecki.


You can see that hand, and the work of all thirty student artists, collage-style, on the north face of the South Haven Center for the Arts at 600 Phoenix St., South Haven. Mrs. Rydecki is very proud of her students for sharing their talent with the community, and showing how they persevered with their studies through this spring's school closure.


Thank you to all Baseline Middle School participating artists and Mrs. Rydecki!


Lauren Bartlett

Hayden Beatty-Gonzalez

Jonathon Bevevino

Bryan Bevevino

Erin Bos

Keira Brush

Brenda Calderon

Addison DeKoning

Madi Dibble

Bryson Distefano

Madi Dotson

Wyatt Dotson

Elizabeth Fisher

Gabby Gamino

Yaribeth Garcia

Charlotte Grzybowski

Cordia Henderson

Ethan Hodge

Pru Hosier

Makaiyah Jeries

Bradly Keen

Summer Leadingham

Ian Montgomery

Cara Murphy

Hannah Pastrick

Sasha Ransom

Roxy Ryan

Serenity Scully

Stella Sutton

Molly Verseput







Photo courtesy of Tom Renner

Press release by Nancy Albright

Rain Gianneschi Visual Artist, Musician, Teacher, Gardener, Thinker, Activist, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Lover, Friend.

Artist's Website: praingianneschiart.com


ARTIST BIO

RAIN was born and raised in Chicago, and is an artist working across Poetics.

In her multimedia work, whether music or visual art, the intersection of social justice and spirituality is a thread that runs through all the disciplines of her work. As a teaching artist with students, from the classroom to the stage at the Art Institute of Chicago, she weaves a pedagogy with the same threads of spirituality and social justice.


Her paintings, prints and drawings going back over 35+ years represent an artistic practice rich in ideas, content, creativity and authenticity. RAIN is currently a founding member of the art collective: MOTHER ART: REVISITED

Educated in the Arts at University of California, Berkeley. RAIN holds two degrees from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a Master’s in Art Education, and a Master of Fine Arts. She has served as a teaching artist for the Chicago Public Schools for 22 years, and as adjunct faculty in Art Education at The School of the Art institute of Chicago.


RECENT EXHIBITIONS: New York, Chicago, London, Edinburgh, Athens, Mexico City, Prague & Slovakia.

Rain Solo show opens 2021 in London.

Rain Artist Residency Carmon Spain 2019 Painting in the HEAT!


ARTIST STATEMENT

As a multi-media artist using paint, words, and music as a portal for imagination and spirit, I am involved with the process of Becoming and Creating. Secret messages are hidden in the textures and shapes of my work. My desire is to bring the viewer into a space to become open to the forces of imagination and spirit. I believe Art can transform us and take us to a new awareness, create new sensations, and form. For me, the act of painting is an act of spiritual practice. I enter the painting with body and mind, searching for the images as I wander through the canvas, or pick up a pen, or my guitar, or sit down and touch the keys on my piano. I am an artist.


In the newer work, I begin to un-paint the paintings, creating work that is more minimal, and monochromatic. I begin adding texture, using collaged papers and hidden text to the work. These secret messages, these hidden words, parallel the silencing of our histories. In my desire to elicit a response from the viewer, I employ the basic compositional elements of narrative, in abstraction, inviting the viewer to breath in color, image and texture, and to form their own narrative. I am multi-media artist. I am a painter, musician, poet, writer, & performance artist.

I am interested in the process, the process of Becoming, the process of Creating.


Photos from Left to Right: Rain at work in her Wicker Park Studio. Rain at work on the “OxBow Sunset Series” in Evergreen Studio Wicker Park. Rain at Highland Park Art Center Exhibition with her 1987 work: "Lady In The Red Beret"1987 oil on canvas.


Favorite Working Tools

I use a variety of strange tools in my multimedia work. I have favorite paint brushes, and several tools to adhere paper to canvas that I employ to aid in the flattening out of the paper, no air bubble.


My favorite burnishing tool for printmaking is my strange wooden paddle that I bought at an antique market in Saugatuck a few summers ago when I was taking a printmaking class at OxBow. I also love my Japanese bamboo burnisher and an old wooden darning tool for darning socks, also found at the antique mart in Saugatuck.


Photos from Left to Right: Antique darning tool used as a burnisher in printmaking. Japanese Bamboo burnisher top.


My relationship with the South Haven Arts Center is really tied to 25 + year relationship with OxBow. I would visit the Art Center each time I visited Oxbow to study or to teach a class.

Recently my brother, who has been an avid collector of my work, purchased a 20 acre farm in Covert, not far from South Haven. I will be building a summer studio there and he suggested I become a member this summer. So I did!

I am hoping to begin a new relationship with you at the Art Center, perhaps offer class some summer, when I am not traveling. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know you all on a more personal level. You have a wonderful community to work with in South Haven.


FALLEN

fallen angel

fallen woman

fallen nation

fallen world

fallen leader

fallen spirit

fallen bridges

fallen mountains

fallen trees

fallen branches

fallen leaves

fallen columns

fallen walls

fallen fences

fallen houses

fallen humanity

fallen steeples

fallen crosses

fallen heroes

fallen spheres

fallen rain

FALLEN 2017. Mixed Media oil on canvas, 72 in X 60 in. Contact artist for pricing.



CARMONA

Rose colored light scorched by the summer sun of southern Spain

The wilted sunflowers in the fields now brown and weathered from the dry heat

Their seeds are brown with withered petals, no golden flowers to inspire us

Leaving us wishing we had been here a month ago when fields were green

Rains did fall upon this dry brown earth, and brought forth the fruits of the fields

Life is slower here, revolving like the earth, around the sun

When she shines her bold screaming yellow face down upon us

We seek the shelter in the shade, anywhere we can find it

Early to rise before she begins her scorching heat

Like busy ants the people scurry to the markets, greet their neighbors

Make their way on foot around the ancient city

When the sun is highest, hottest, the windows are shuddered, the siesta begins

A big meal midday, and then a restful nap, until the light begins to lessen

Life resumes again and stores re open around the hours of 6 or 7

But no one here eats as we do, at 8 pm sharp we march like lemmings to the food

Relieved and rested, we seek water and wine, fish and fowl, pig and cow

Olives, and fruits abundant and fresh

We eat and chatter, and share our thoughts as the night falls upon this jewel with its massive stone gate guarding the citizens

7000 Years mankind has settled here in the golden hills of Carmona

Our dinner has just begun

We wander the streets along white washed buildings

Shining brightly in the Spanish summer sun,

Reflecting the heat away from the city streets

Painted white in Moorish times to alleviate the scorching summer heat

Small narrow streets, shaded by buildings close together

Keeping the citizens cool as they find their way around the ancient city

We stand before the Grand Gate of Carmona, once a fortress

Strong and foreboding the majestic gate

It kept the marauders from entering within the city walls

In this ancient city there are three palaces, each a treasure of architecture

Purple and orange, white and gold

Red with the color of the earth’s clay

Here in the dry southern landscape of Southern Spain

CARMONA!! FEEL THE HEAT!! 2019. Oil on linen canvas, 36 in X 48 in. Gifted to the City of Carmona Cultural Center, Carmona, Spain.

AFTER FALLEN GOLD 2019, $3500. Mixed media, oil on canvas, 30 in X 30 in


AFTER FALLEN BLACK STORM 2019, $3500. Mixed media, oil on canvas, 30 in X 30 in.


OXBOW SUNSET SERIES 2014 Please refer to website for entire series in many mediums.

The series begins with this painting, painted on the meadow at OxBow in a painting class with James Cau. We were asked to paint at sunset and into the darkness with headlamps.

It was wonderful!

OxBow Sunset 2014, oil on canvas, NFS.



OXBOW SUNSET CHALKS 2016, paper & chalk, 30 in X 40 in.


RAIN Gianneschi is a South Haven Center for the Arts Artist Member. As a benefit of this membership level, we are proud to be featuring Artists Members on our blog. If you are an artist member and want to be featured, email us at info@southhavenarts.org. Want to be an artist member? See more information here: southhavenarts.org/artist-membership

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