Untold story of Frida Kahlo to be re-enacted

Detroit writer Louis Aguilar recounts a story passed to him by a woman who interacted with Kahlo as a young girl.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

Kahlo often spent time with Rivera as he painted Detroit Industry.

Detroit writer Louis Aguilar is hosting a multimedia event at 27th Letter Books in Southwest Detroit at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13.

Aguilar will discuss a little-known story about the well-known Mexican-American artist, Frida Kahlo.

He spoke with a woman over 25 years ago about a special moment she shared with Kahlo as a 10-year-old girl.

During this time, Diego Rivera worked in Detroit. Visitors were allowed to come and watch, and Kahlo often spent time with him as he painted the Detroit Industry mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

One day she spotted a little girl, gave her a tour and treated her like she was her own. Aguilar says the story the older woman told him about Kahlo was almost too good to be true.

“I realized as I started to do the research that so many of these stories were never told. I mean, I read books, I read the official documentation of the DIA and other scholars. And their [Kahlo and Rivera’s] interaction with the local Mexican community just did not seem to be on anyone’s radar, even though these artists were Mexican.”

Erin Pineda is a co-owner of 27th Letter Books. She says the owners never forget the significance of the location.

“I think that’s one of my favorite parts about living in Detroit … the places where you find these little stories.”

The event is free, and guests can also expect a live re-enactment of the meeting between Kahlo and the woman Aguilar spoke with 25 years ago.

Listen: Detroit writer recounts rare story to be performed at 27th Letter Books.


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  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.