The Kahlo Family Foundation

How Frida Kahlo’s Family is Keeping her Legacy Alive

Mexico City

BY KÁTIA MATIQUITE | April 27, 2022

1. Mara De Anda (R) and Mara Kahlo (L) at Immersive Frida Kahlo. - Photo by Kristina Vicar

Mara De Anda (R) and Mara Kahlo (L) at Immersive Frida Kahlo. - Photo by Kristina Vicario

“There are many companies that want the licence to Frida, but they just want to put her face on cookies.”

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Immersive Frida Toronto

The Kahlo Family Foundation (or Fundacion Familia Kahlo) is an organisation created by some of the surviving relatives of Frida Kahlo to honour and continue her legacy. The foundation executes this mission primarily by building and implementing projects meant to assist communities through social work, including building food cisterns that provide basic food products and other community-based initiatives. Mara de Anda, Frida Kahlo’s great-niece and Vice-President of the foundation, joined smART Magazine to talk about the foundation and its current and prospective impact in Mexico City.

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The work de Anda does now exceeds the mere conceptual aspects of maintaining Frida’s legacy. According to de Anda,  the origin of the foundation predates her initiative and vision for it. “I don’t know if you’ve heard about this,” de Anda says, sitting in her sunny courtyard in Mexico City, “but the foundation started with Frida and Christina when they were alive. It wasn’t really official, but they had something similar to a foundation, where they gave provisions to more than 500 women at a time, right through that door,” she says, pointing to a metal gate behind her that was visible on the Zoom call. The “door” in question was the entrance to the headquarters of their unofficial foundation, where women could reach out for “canastas básicas,” which were essentially food baskets with essentials that included rice, beans, and oil.

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Commenting on the foundation’s organic and community-based origins, de Anda recalls how “that door was open every Saturday. So we continued that tradition, you know? We want to continue the tradition that started with Frida and Cristina, and then my grandmother joined. Nowadays, we can’t [literally] open doors because of the security in Mexico, but when we started the Kahlo Family Foundation, which licences the name and brand of Frida Kahlo, we were able to create these support programs.” In addition to this literal extension of Kahlo’s social work, the Kahlo Family Foundation is predisposed and committed to assisting Mexican artists. “My sister, whose name is [also] Frida, is developing a support program for Mexican artists here.” de Anda’s enthusiasm and hope in the forthcoming branch that her sister, Frida Hentschel Romeo, is building within the foundation, was palpable.