THE COURAGE TO BE...FRIDA
Everyone can be an artwork
"The courage to be... Frida" is the new fashion project by the Italian fashion designer, Susi Sposito, in collaboration with the photographer, Alessandro Tarantino. A celebration of our diversity and uniqueness as human beings, in a journey to discovering our identity.
Everyone can be an artwork. Inspired to the life and work of Frida Kahlo, this innovative fashion project promotes the exploration and acceptance of our diversity as unique beings. Gender, class, race, sexual orientation, gender identity... A symbol of personal growth through the acceptance of all aspects of our identity.
Because it is only through self-acceptance that we can truly become ourselves and celebrate our differences. Everyone is unique, thus everyone can be an artwork in their uniqueness.
Talking about diversity today has become part of our day-to-day conversations: gender, race, culture... The concept of diversity is not a new concept. It is in constant evolution, just as the concept of society and conforming to societal rules and structures.
"Diversity" generally refers to the acknowledgment that there are many different kinds of people in the world. As a general concept, it simply highlights an obvious fact of human life. However, depending on cultural and societal norms, diversity also implies "difference" from an "alleged normality". For instance, if you are a gay man in a predominantly straight society, you will probably belong to one of the "diverse" categories of that society.
The reference to an "alleged normality" is interesting, as if we really engage with the concept of "normality", we will soon realise that it is relative, as indeed is that of "diversity". "Normal" and "different" from whom? The same diverse chategory might be considered "different" in Italy but "normal" in another country in the world. Imagine a society where everyone identifies as "gay". Suddently, "straight" becomes the diverse category. Yet, on a social level, it is obvious that some categories of people are "different". It is so obvious that we often forget that in the end we are all different, similar but never the same. We are all different simply because no human being can be, or become, equal to another.
In the project "The courage to be Frida" we want to talk about diversity and dignity of the self. Everyone can be Frida, because she represents the extreme example of elaboration and acceptance of the self. Frida Kahlo had a life, full of pain and disappointments. Most people in her position would have probably bent to the harshness of her reality, to succumb to the rules of a society that would have willingly made her an outcast. Because after all "diversity" is often uncomfortable for society and for those who comply with social norms. It is for this reason that the "different" are often marginalized, because they are not accepted by society and by themselves, causing suffering.
Frida didn't think she would become a great artist. For her, painting meant "self-healing": she was not aware that she was coming into contact with the deepest emotional structures of herself, elaborating their content and bringing them to the tangible level, leading her suffering to become an aesthetic experience. Frida Kahlo is an artist who made her own pain and human frailty a work of art, that could be witnessed and enjoyed by others. She did so by reproducing her battered body in her paintings, in a way that each person can recognize and understand empathically.
We can all be Frida because we can all be ourselves. It is our very nature of being human that requires us to do that. Accepting our diversity as individuals will be the first step towards the processing of unconscious contents and their externalization. Contents that can thus be communicated to others through the arts. We are all Frida Kahlo and we are all a work of art.
The project began in 2016, with the involvement of ordinary people in a highly intense photographic moment, by accepting to expose their essence. The shots were made by the photographer Alessandro Tarantino, while the garments worn and the styling of the images were created by designer Susi Sposito. All coordinated and designed to pay homage to Frida Kahlo. The project aims to celebrate diversity as uniqueness", because, however similar, we are all "different" and "unique", as unique are the clothes of the designer Susi Sposito: each masterpiece celebrates the uniqueness and beauty of every woman she meets in her path.
The photographs and fashion collection created for the project are currently available to the public for the first time at the Museo Filangieri, in the heart of Naples. Following the two week exhibition in Naples, there will be further exhibitions in other Italian cities and the first ever exhibition in the United Kingdom in 2021. Watch this space for further updates about the project.