By: Alissa Borrero
This year the Spanish Honor Society sent its members on a field trip to the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx to broaden their cultural horizons through the temporary exhibited artwork of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Her exhibit featured a description of her history, a reimagining of her studio and garden in their own version of her Casa Azul, and genuine artwork for students to view.
Upon arrival at the Botanical Gardens, students were allowed to wander the area before the scheduled tour of the Frida Kahlo exhibit and simply enjoy all the beautiful, verdant sights the Gardens had to offer. Around 11 a.m. students gathered at the NYBG library to see the exhibit, beginning with a tour describing Frida Kahlo’s life and artistic influences. There students learned of her difficult roots, of her marriage to another influential mexican artist Diego Rivera, and of her inspirations. Those inspirations of her often surrealist art included botanical imagery, infertility, mexican culture, national identity, and herself. She painted many self portraits and some of them could be seen within the artwork display that followed the historical tour such as, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. Other notable paintings that students were able to witness first hand would be El Sol y la Vida, Self Portrait Inside a Sunflower, Portrait of Luther Burbank, and Naturaleza Muerta Con Sandias. These portraits were a few of the fourteen pieces on display. After viewing the artwork students were able to see a physical evocation of The Two Fridas which reflected both her dual Spanish-Indigenous heritage, and traditional Mexican dress. Following this portion of the exhibit was a hall of displays and brief descriptions of tools and plants that played a role in Mexican culture and society, including the prominence of medicinal herbs and plants. This would end the formal tour and students would once again be free to roam the rest of the NYBG ,including the conservatory which had been turned into a homage of Frida Kahlo’s, Casa Azul.
La Casa Azul in Mexico is the house Frida Kahlo grew up in and holds a large courtyard garden, it is currently a famous museum for her. The NYBG recreates the spirit of La Casa Azul in its conservatory with built in blue walls and an expansive variety of plant life, many of which showcase important garden plants from Mexico. Here students can view some of what served for Frida Kahlo’s inspiration in her art and appreciate the beauty of all kinds of plant life. Spanish Honor Society members were also able to visit the NYBG gift shop where they could purchase a variety of souvenirs, many of which were related to Frida Kahlo or Dia de los Muertos imagery. At around 1 p.m. students left NYBG and returned to the school.
The Spanish Honor Society this year had yet another fun, educational, and successful field trip, exposing members to another culture firsthand and enriching their worldview. Profe
Reynolds did an excellent job managing and supervising the event to ensure this, and students are not likely to forget this meaningful day.