Things That Matter

A Photo Of This Sad, Sweet Old Lady Went Viral Because She Hadn’t Sold Any Of Her Handmade Napkins, Now They’re All Sold

The internet is a dark place —dark and full of terrors. But on a few rare occasions, it serves for good purposes. Last week, the pictures of a sweet indigenous woman, captured crying after she wasn’t able to sell her handmade napkins went viral. And in a deliciously gratifying turn of events, the next day her sales soared —and what’s more, people even asked to take pictures with her.

This sweet old lady was looking a little blue, so a stranger decided to ask what was wrong.

Doña Adela Vidales, a Purépecha woman from the town of Turícuaro, Michoacán, was sitting on the floor in downtown Uruapan looking sad, when Leopoldo Álvarez noticed her dispirited demeanor. Being a Purépecha himself, the man felt moved so he took a few sneaky pictures of her without being noticed, and approached the woman to ask what was wrong. “She looked sad. I took two photos of her back and I asked her why she was sad, and she told me that she hadn’t sold anything,” Álvarez told Mexican newspaper Milenio.

Leopoldo Álvarez took to Facebook to share the woman’s story.

Álvarez, who runs a catering business in Michoacán, posted the photos on Facebook, with the caption:  “Doña Adela was sad because she hadn’t sold her artisanal napkins, and I told her that I was going to promote her products on social media… I invite you all to buy from her, she works in downtown Uruapan…,” he wrote in Spanish.

The next day, Doña Adela’s napkins sold out.

Just a week after the photos went up on Facebook, Leopoldo’s post had garnered over 2,500 likes and 619 comments —the post had been shared more than 8,000 times! “I didn’t think it would have such reach,” he said.

After many followers asked him how they could reach Doña Adela, he went to Turícuaro to find her.

“I went back to see her and we spoke. She told me that the next day, on Sunday, she went to work and sold everything and even finished early… and it was curious,” he added, “because she doesn’t usually sell out so early. But she sold everything and there were even people who wanted to take pictures with her,” Álvarez said.

“I felt useful,” said Álvares, “I don’t care about becoming famous.”

Leopoldo explained that he feels happy about having helped Doña Adela, and when he saw her again, days later, she expressed how immensely grateful she was.  “I felt useful, and I think I did my part. People congratulate me, but I think anyone would do the same.”

Álvarez reiterated that when he posted the photos of her, that he only cared about helping Doña Adela sell the napkins she had  made by hand.

Despite the huge engagement his post had; now he sees that ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ aren’t enough —he wants this to become something that provides real support to Michoacán artisans. “A ‘like’ doesn’t symbolize a purchase, a ‘share’ doesn’t symbolize an order. People haven’t kept buying, and the intention is to help.” said Leopoldo. “I don’t care about becoming famous, I wanted to help her.”

Leopoldo shared Doña Adela’s grandson, Melitón’s phone number in his social media profiles, so that people who are interested in buying can reach them. The caterer says he wants to help artisans from his own hometown, Pamatácuaro, who make wooden spoons, molinillos, and woven baskets. “I’d like to benefit my community, the artisans, that was my intention with Doña Adela, because there are many more artisans like her who live off their sales.”

Don’t take away valuable business from indigenous artisans by buying imitations from big corporations.

Many stores like Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie, are taking valuable business away from actual indigenous artists and small businesses by making cheap knockoffs of their hand-made work. Support indigenous creativity, history, and legacy, and help create a much-needed economic boost in rural areas by shopping from small, authentic indigenous businesses, everywhere.

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If You Call Yourself A Frida Kahlo Fan Then You Should Be Following These Five Artists

Culture

If You Call Yourself A Frida Kahlo Fan Then You Should Be Following These Five Artists

So many of us have been moved the art of the late Frida Kahlo. Even in death she’s gone on to inspire entire generations with her Surrealist self-portraits, lush depictions of plant and animal life, and magical realist tableaux. Not to mention her incredible life story.

She also inspired future generations of artists, many of whom are alive today creating beautiful works of art. These are just a few of the artists who have similar techniques, subjects, and styles to Frida Kahlo that you’ll definitely love if you’re a fan of Frida Kahlo.

Maria Fragoso – Mexico City

Credit: Teach Me Sweet Things / Theirry Goldberg Gallery

Influenced by the style and narratives of Mexican surrealists and muralists, Maria Fragoso creates work that celebrates her Mexican culture, while also addressing notions of gender expression and queer identity. Her brightly colored canvases offer voyeuristic glimpses into intimate moments, with subjects engaging in acts that seem at once seductive and mischievous—often while gazing directly out at the viewer.

Recently featured in Forbes’s “30 Under 30” in the “Art and Style” category, the 25-year-old artist is quickly rising to prominence. Born and raised in Mexico City, Fragoso moved to Baltimore in 2015 to pursue her BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art. While in school, Fragoso was the recipient of the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship at the Yale Norfolk School of Art. Since graduating, she has completed residencies at Palazzo Monti and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Nadia Waheed – Austin, Texas

Credit: Message from Janus / Mindy Solomon Gallery

Born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents, Austin, Texas–based artist Nadia Waheed explores notions of relocation, displacement, and vulnerability in her work. Her life-size figurative paintings are both allegorical and autobiographical—the female figures represent her own lived experiences, as well as the multifaceted identities of all women.

Rodeo Tapaya – Philippines

Credit: Nowhere Man / A3 Art Agency

Rodel Tapaya paints dreamlike, narrative works based on myths and folklore from his native Philippines. Drawing parallels between age-old fables and current events, Tapaya reimagines mythical tales by incorporating fragments of the present. “In some way, I realize that old stories are not just metaphors. I can find connections with contemporary time,” Tapaya said in a 2017 interview with the National Gallery of Australia. “It’s like the myths are poetic narrations of the present.”

While the content of Tapaya’s work is inspired by Filipino culture, his style and literary-based practice is heavily influenced by Mexican muralists and Surrealist painters such as José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and, of course, Frida Kahlo. Often working at a large scale, Tapaya has been commissioned to create several site-specific murals, including one for Art Fair Philippines in February 2020.

Leonor Fini – Buenos Aires

Credit: Les Aveugles / Weinstein Gallery

Long overlooked in favor of male Surrealists, Leonor Fini, a contemporary of Kahlo, was a pioneering 20th-century force. Known for having lived boldly, Fini is recognized for her unconventional lifestyle, theatrical personality, and avant-garde fashion sense. Born in Buenos Aires in 1907, Fini was raised by her mother in Trieste, Italy. She taught herself to paint and first exhibited her work at the age of 17.

Fini had one of her first solo exhibitions at age 25 with a Parisian gallery directed by Christian Dior. Her work was then included in the groundbreaking exhibition “Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism” at MoMA in 1936, while at the same time she had her first New York exhibition with Julien Levy Gallery. Today, Fini’s work is represented in many major public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Tate Modern in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Ramon Alejandro – Miami

Credit: Eternal Life / Latino Art Core

José Ramón Díaz Alejandro, better known as Ramon Alejandro, paints idyllic still lifes of tropical fruits set in ethereal landscapes. The surrealistic compositions have a similar spirit to Kahlo’s less iconic but equally masterful still-life works

Coming from a long lineage of artists, Alejandro grew up with the artworks of his great-grandfather, grandfather, and uncle adorning the walls of his childhood home. After growing up in Havana, Alejandro was sent to live in Argentina in 1960 amidst political turmoil in Cuba, and has continued to live in exile since then.

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The Romance Between Frida Kahlo And Chavela Vargas Gets Renewed Attention As Long Lost Love Letters Are Uncovered

Entertainment

The Romance Between Frida Kahlo And Chavela Vargas Gets Renewed Attention As Long Lost Love Letters Are Uncovered

Frida Kahlo’s paintings perfectly show the artist’s whirlwind of emotions throughout her life. Her art gives a look into her passions, her pains and her loves, which went far beyond Diego Rivera. 

It’s long been known that the prolific artist had many loves throughout her life, both men and women, and including many major personalities of their time. Everyone from Tina Modotti and the politician León Trotsky were on that list in addition to her longtime companion, Diego Rivera. However, one of Kahlo’s great loves and of whom little is said was the singer Chavela Vargas.

Chavela, who was 12 years younger than Frida, spoke on several occasions about the love she had for Kahlo when her musical career began to take off, while she was “a child.” And thanks to recently discovered love letters we have a new perspective on this little known relationship.

New love letters give us details into the romance between Frida Kahlo and Chavela Vargas.

Although Chavela had claimed to have destroyed all of the love letters she received from Frida Kahlo, new love letters have recently been discovered that paint a new light on the romance.

There is one letter Kahlo had written to Carlos Pellicer, a Mexican poet, to express her feelings about the singer. She told him that after meeting Chavela she felt attracted to her from the very first moment – in some pretty steamy language.

“Today I met Chavela Vargas. Extraordinary, lesbian, what’s more, I wanted her erotically. I don’t know if she felt what I did. But I think she’s a liberal enough woman, that if she asks me, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to undress in front of her. How many times do you not want to get laid and that’s it? She, I repeat, is erotic. Is it a gift that heaven sends me?”, wrote Kahlo.

It was shortly after Kahlo wrote that letter that Chavela went to live with her and Diego at La Casa Azul. In another recently discovered letter, Vargas writes – of her time at Casa Azul – that she felt very happy and in love, as well as loved by Kahlo.

“She taught me a lot of things and I learned a so much. Without giving away too much, I held the sky with my hands, with every word, every morning,” she said.

The lovers had an intense relationship that has fascinated fans to this day.

The two had met at one of the many parties Kahlo and Rivera would host at their home in Casa Azul. The couple were prolific entertainers and often threw extravagant parties.

Before her death, Vargas detailed that night’s meeting.

“A painter friend invited me. She said: ‘There’s a party at Frida’s house tonight. Shall we go?’ I went and the atmosphere was full of people. The night passed, we sang, everyone danced, everyone entertained,” Vargas says in the documentary Chavela, released in 2017.

“I was in a daze when I saw her face, her eyes. I thought she couldn’t be a being from this world. Her eyebrows together were a swallow in flight. Without yet having the maturity of a woman in me, since I was a very young girl, I sensed that I could love that being with the most devoted love in the world, the strongest love in the world,” said the singer about Frida.

Although the romance didn’t last long thanks in part to the painter’s relationship with Diego Rivera.

Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Vargas confessed that the romance didn’t last for a long time on the account of having to share the painter’s love with Diego Rivera. According to Vargas, one day Kahlo simply decided to abandon her.

“My words possibly hurt her a lot when I told her I was leaving and she told me: ‘I know. It is impossible to tie you to anybody’s life. I can’t tie you to my crutches or to my bed. Go away!’ And one day I opened the door and didn’t come back,” Vargas said.

Although the singer never spoke about whether she had intimate relationships with the painter, the romance, as well as the great love and attraction they felt for each other is something that cannot be denied.

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