“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”
Frida Kahlo’s words ring true nearly 70 years after the revolutionary Mexican painter left this world and became a feminist, queer icon immortalized through her surrealist and magic realist works of art. This Friday, August 19, Kahlo’s art will take a new form at “Mexican Geniuses: A Frida and Diego Immersive Experience” in Northeast D.C.
Tech company Brain Hunter Co. is bringing its 360-degree digital art exhibit to the United States for the first time, after runs in Mexico and most recently in London, in collaboration with entertainment discovery platform Fever. The hands-on exhibit uses video-mapping technology in four galleries for a multisensory experience highlighting the works of Kahlo and her husband, muralist Diego Rivera, as well as their torrid yet captivating love story.
Our EIC and an unabashed Frida fanatic caught up with Brain Hunter’s founder and CEO, Bernardo Noval, before the immersive experience comes to the District this weekend.
District Fray: What inspired you and your team to transform the works of these iconic painters into a multi-sensory exhibit?
Bernardo Noval: I think the most important thing is our passion for our two ambassadors of the culture in Mexico. We are sharing to the world Mexican art and the love Frida and Diego have together. Of course, it is very important to also say that Frida represents many women, but especially feminism. We are living in the feminism era and that’s why we are very, very specialized and focus on these topics through Mexican culture and tradition.
Why do you think the exhibit will resonate with American audiences?
Almost 40 million Mexicans are living in the States. For us, this is a great bridge to cross to get into the States with Frida and Diego again. They used to work in this country 50 years ago. I think the impression [the exhibit is making on] people who support social media and many communities — feminism, LGBTQ+ and even young people — is part of the success we are having in London.
Why does D.C. feel like the right city for “Mexican Geniuses” to make its U.S. debut?
We are working with the Mexican Embassy. Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma in Washington is one of the most important cultural promoters of our country since many years ago. He used to direct a foundation supporting artists in the country. We have this amazing relationship with the cultural diplomacy of Mexico, so that’s why we chose the capital: to empower all the Mexican people living in D.C.
What are a few of your favorite elements of the exhibit?
You’re going to enjoy beautiful, original music during the show. You’re going to listen to some of the traditional Mexican music about our folklore and heritage like “La Cucaracha” and the Day of the Dead song called “Día de los Muertos” by La Llorona. You’ll have an amazing experience with more than 300 images moving and working with the music and sharing a new way to enjoy art. We have the VR experience in another room where you can [experience] the real history of the love between Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. You can know and be inside this beautiful experience through virtual reality. We have a drawing area for kids to show and spread the colors of Mexico. The most important thing: You have the studio of Diego Rivera and the studio of Frida Kahlo, and a little bit more information about their lives.
Who do you hope comes out to experience this exhibit?
This is a family experience: to go with kids, to go with grandmothers and grandfathers, to go with parents and relatives. It’s also an experience for Mexican people living in the States, Latin communities, all the communities who support women empowerment, and LGBTQ+ people. For students, young people and people who are interested in careers in arts & culture or to study something like entertainment or digital arts, that’s a beautiful thing [because] you can learn and be part of this community.
Diego Rivera is a divisive personality for many art lovers and Frida Kahlo fans. Why was it important to highlight him in tandem with Frida?
Diego used to be a womanizer […] but we are not supporting that. We are trying to show the world how he supported Frida. He made the best part of Frida’s career and introduced her to many people to recognize her passion — and even her pain. We are not supporting that [other] side of Diego. We are supporting their work.
“Mexican Geniuses: A Frida and Diego Immersive Experience” makes its D.C. debut on Friday, August 19. Tickets start at $36 and are available here.
Enjoy this piece? Consider becoming a member for access to our premium digital content. Support local journalism and start your membership today.