Submitted by Amy Garcia Phillips, Rahway Arts and Business Partnership
When one thinks of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, you don’t often associate her with yarn, yet as you walk down Cherry Street in downtown Rahway you cannot help but make the connection as you pass the oversize portrait of Frida, made of yarn, created by the uniquely talented artist Linda Grant.
“The idea to do Frida had been brewing for some time. A lot was going on at our Southern border and I thought doing Frida would make a statement and be appropriate. Originally, I was going to do a full body portrait, but realized Frida wouldn’t be much taller than your average person. Not dramatic enough! So I immediately decided to do just her head. I searched the internet and I found a portrait painted by a woman from Barcelona, Spain, Domna Banakou. I liked her interpretation of Frida and I knew I could make all those flowers!”, explained Ms. Grant.
Yarn art projects usually consist of covering a piece of public property in a creative and colorful way using yarn. These are temporary installations, when it looks weathered, it gets removed. Linda has produced several large yarn art projects for Rahway. Last summer she decorated both City Hall and Rahway Train Station Plazas. Her little vignettes made of colorful shapes, animals and characters, intrigued commuters and residents alike and were sewn onto seats, hanging from trees or popping up in planters.
In fall of 2017 she created an oversized replication of a Matisse Goldfish painting on the same fence where Frida now lends a watchful eye. “Her ability to look at a space and create something beautiful, artistic, and eye-catching is a true talent.”, commented Amy Garcia Phillips, the Executive Director of the Rahway Arts and Business Partnership, (RABP), the organization that reached out to Ms. Grant last year. “In addition to the institutions like Union County performing Arts Center and The Gallery Space, we are lucky to have the work of many local artists like Linda who are truly proficient in their craft.”
“Anything we can do to draw attention to Rahway is a good thing. We want people to come down and see all that Rahway has to offer. Having a works of art like Linda’s portrait is that something extra that will draw people downtown.”, commented Rahway’s Mayor Giacobbe. “We are fortunate to have artists of this caliber in our community, who feel supported and who are willing to share their talents with us.”
The Frida Kahlo portrait will be a feature of Rahway’s annual arts and music festival, Culture Crawl 2018, on September 22, 2018 taking place from 1-6 p.m. all throughout the downtown of Rahway.