Frida Kahlo, Julia de Burgos & Mexican/ Puerto Rican solidarity
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July 6 1907- July 13, 1954
Julia de Burgos
Feb 17 1914- July 6, 1953
Soldaderas, named after the women soldiers of the Mexican Revolution, is a mural tribute to Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos. It honors the common histories, common struggles and solidarity of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. Inspired by Kahlo’s painting, “Las dos Fridas,” the two women sit holding hands, their flags merge sharing a central red stripe. Both were feminists, upheld revolutionary ideals and shared a profound love for their respective homelands. At a time in which their male counter parts did not delve into personal issues in their poetry and art, de Burgos and Kahlo unapologetically made the personal political.
Soldaderas is also inspired by the neighboring Puerto Rican and Mexican communities who have made El Barrio/ East Harlem their home. The mural unveiled in El Barrio at the Modesto Flores Community Garden on Lexington Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets on July 6, 2011. I chose that date because in a poetic twist, Julia de Burgos died on July 6th, 1953, Frida Kahlo's birthday. The mural unveiling brought together members of the Puerto Rican and Mexican communities, opening with a Mexica blessing by Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli and combining poets, performers and speakers from each of these cultures. A candlelight vigil began with the godmother of Nuyorican Poetry, Sandra Maria Esteves, reading the famed Rio Grande de Loiza, on the bridge over the water in garden. After the program in the garden, a procession was led by pleneros, stopping at several significant sites along 106th Street/ Julia de Burgos Boulevard, where poets recited selected de Burgos poems. The procession ended with another candlelight vigil on 5th Avenue, near the site where she collapsed before have passed. There we read Dadme mi Numero y Poema Para mi Muerte.