Festive opening – Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst

Festive opening

10 June 2021

The official opening took place in the presence of the Ambassador of Mexico, Mr. José Antonio Zabalgoitia and the Mayor of Amstelveen Tjapko Poppens. Guests visited  the exhibition and enjoyed Mexican music and dance.

Opening 10 June, photo: Matthijs Immink

De tentoonstelling Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera: A Love Revolution trok in de eerste week al ruim 2.000 bezoekers. De unieke Gelman Collection of Mexican Modern Art is voor het eerst in Nederland te zien en bevat maar liefst 23 werken van de hand van Frida Kahlo, waaronder enkele van haar beroemde zelfportretten.

Photo Matthijs Immink (f.l.t.r. president of the board Cobra Museum, Hugo Siblesz, ambassador of Mexico Mr. José Antonio Zabalgoitia, mayor of Amstelveen Tjapko Poppens and deputy director Cobra Museum Stefan van Raay)

The Mayor of Amstelveen Tjapko Poppens was delighted to finally get together physically and celebrate culture:

“After a long COVID-19 lockdown, finally, restrictions in the Netherlands are being eased and our society is opening up step by step. It has been a tough year for cultural institutions. Cultural activities almost came to a halt. Empty museums, empty theatres, and for such a long time. It has been a tough year for artists, not being able to perform, to exhibit, to bloom. And although the cultural sector developed all kind of online alternatives, it doesn’t replace ‘live’ interaction.

So the 5th of June, the day that cultural institutions could physically open their doors again, was a happy day for many of us. I learned that on Saturday, the first day The Cobra Museum opened its doors again, they received 500 visitors and on Sunday 600. People missed you.

Last year showed us that culture is of great value to society. It encourages people to connect, to discover new worlds, to enrich themselves. It brings hope and inspiration in times of sorrow and discomfort. But, also economically, culture is of great value. It makes a city more appealing, not only to residents but also to visitors and tourist from abroad. The Cobra Museum is part of the Visit Amstelveen programme, our city marketing platform that highlights the rich diversity of our city.

Hopefully, the pandemic made us more aware of the value of culture to society. Hopefully, it will be more appreciated.”

Opening 10 June, mayor of Amstelveen Tjapko Poppens, photo: Matthijs Immink

The ambassador of Mexico took the attendees to the Mexico of the last century:

“Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: a Love Revolution” cannot be fully understood if we do not place it within its time and circumstance. Those times were profoundly defined by a social revolution of enormous scope. During those first six decades of the nineteen hundreds, Mexico defined its vision of social justice and focused on its aspirations to build a modern and inclusive society. It is during that period that Mexico consolidates its national unity and upholds it with massive health and education policies; with the construction of an extensive transportation network; with the launching of industrial development; and by embarking on an urbanization process that produced a middle class and transformed the country.”

And emphasised the influence of Frida Kahlo on contemporary society:

“By concentrating on the works by Frida Kahlo and going beyond the clichés that have made her “the most famous female Mexican artist”, we can also attain a different perspective. We should move beyond her suffering, her handicapped condition and resilience, transcend the actions that tore down barriers and opened new social spaces for women, in order to explore some less obvious and more interesting elements of her work.

Frida continues to inspire us today with her free spirit, enormous strength and overwhelming passion, but also marvels us with her relationship to nature, with her approach towards gender, or with her ability to integrate knowledge and sensations from the past into the present and the future.”

Opening 10 June, ambassador of Mexico, Mr. José Antonio Zabalgoitia, photo: Matthijs Immink
Opening 10 June, photo: Matthijs Immink