Meet the artists featured in the exhibition, The World of Frida, organized by the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA. Every other week we will highlight a few of the artists included in the exhibition. The 95 international artists featured in The World of Frida have reinterpreted many aspects of Frida Kahlo’s life in an array of media — from honoring her self-portraits, to depicting her love affair with Diego Rivera, to recognizing her emotional, physical, professional and societal struggles. This exhibition is an incredible tribute to an artist who continues to influence millions by the simple fact that she was always true to herself, no matter the cost.

Mona Cliff

Lawrence, KS

Mona Cliff, Dear Heart, 2018, Czech seed beads, felt and thread, 12 x 10 in.

Mona Cliff is a multidisciplinary indigenous visual artist. She explores the subject of contemporary Native American identity and culture through her use of traditional Native crafting methods such as seed bead embroidery and fabric applique. Mona acquired a B.F.A in Printmaking from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA. After graduating, Mona pursued beadwork as a way to re-indigenize her art practice after a European-based art education. She learned bead embroidery and sewing from her grandmother and continued creating regalia for ceremonial purposes for the past 20 years. Honoring native culture, she has continued to work on her art, combining contemporary subject matters with indigenous methods of crafting. Mona pursues the concepts of generational knowledge while exploring other topics such as native futurism and identity.

Artist Statement

My practice traverses traditional Indigenous knowledge systems. Questions I investigate are: how do Indigenous knowledge systems connect our identity, culture, life practice to our surroundings? Within these investigations, I pose questions of our continuous cultural evolvement through material-reality. Generational knowledge is at the forefront of these investigations by connecting me to my past and helping me find meaning in my presence as I look towards the future generations. I create art through these traditional art practices, through meditation and spiritual material imbuement of my art. This brings me a sense of power back into my own being. Interweaving these various types of crafts, I want to create a new visual language. A language which preserves tradition and creates a discourse, which is for people question their own preconceptions of Native American art & craft.

Denise Cortes

Riverside, CA

Denise Cortes, Frida: With Wings to Fly, 2017, acrylic, paper and gold leaf, 12 x 12 in.

Artist Statement

I like to create art that helps women of color see themselves a beautiful, powerful and sacred. I hope my art gives women permission to be free — art being the mirror in which they see themselves — however gloriously flawed they appear to be. My mixed-medium work is a combination of paper collage, painting, abstract expressionism, multi-layered and inspired by the Chicano art aesthetic, our connection to Mother Earth and divine feminine energy. My sweet spot is sharing the creative spirit as a means of meditation + joy through workshops and creating inclusive spaces for people. I also create art for exhibits and galleries as well as entertainment events, wellness circles in both the private and corporate sector, brand launches and community gatherings.

I’ve been an artist since forever. Drawing and creating stories was my refuge as a latch-key child in the 80’s.  I created little fantasy worlds for myself when the one I was living in couldn’t be understood. I am still creating those fantasy worlds for myself, but they are vast and expansive. I have a studio at home, and working from home is a delicate balance that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It allows me to be at home with my children as well as help support them as best I can. It also allows them to see their mother do what she loves to do.

Sarah Cuevas

Portland, OR

Sarah Cuevas, I thought the earth remembered me, 2018, embroidery, 13.25 x 14.25 in.

Sarah Rosella Cuevas is an artist living and working in the greater Portland, OR area. Born in Northern California, her father’s love for literature and her mother’s artful eye raised and nurtured her into the artist she is today. Sarah grew up with the women in her family constantly making clothing, textiles, and crafts. From a young age, Sarah knew that a goodness and a sacredness surrounded creativity.

Sarah embroiders symbols and images into fabric, clothing, and quilts. She both repurposes clothing and creates her own garments and tapestries. Finding a home in these historically humble craft traditions has been a journey of exploring both femininity and the tradition of a medium that is historically viewed as utilitarian.

With her work, Sarah strives to elevate the simple and the small, and to ask of those around her how they can slow down and find sacred in the ordinary.

Sandra De Jaume

Mallorca, Spain

Sandra De Jaume, Frida Kahlo with Okinawa Flowers, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 53 x 41 in.

De Jaume is a Mallorcan visual artist. He has exhibited in numerous cities around the world and his work has been discussed in the media.

Artist Statement

Since I was born I conceive art as my life; it belongs to me, and I belong to it. In my childhood it was my toy, and today it means everything to me. When I start a work I enter in a trance forgetting who I am. Time stops and there is no other space beyond the one that my hands on the canvas dictate. I imagine atmospheres, the places that my characters are going to inhabit. By making the backgrounds I dive into abstraction as a way of shouting rebellion, struggle and strength into the void. Then the characters come: their presence imposes itself to the outbreak of turbulence in order to balance the universe that I created and find a path of light and hope in the shadows.

My work wishes to show, from the depths, something unknown to us, which allows us to forget for a moment the reality which imprisons us. This is the edge where the real and the unreal cross paths, combining the different dimensions. There, my “traveling mind” seeks for answers to existential questions, drifting between fragments of memory and illusory images, which tell us that the impossible is not so far and that the secret is to open our minds. It is a call to the conscience of mankind, a reminder that there is a way out to recover the lost values and achieve peace, escaping the world of chaos.

Regarding my aesthetic values, my work uses acrylic paint. I give great importance to representation within an “empty” and abstract space with interwoven pigments. The chiaroscuro contrasts with the characters that I create with extreme neatness inside a mystical atmosphere, delving into the dream world.