International Women’s Day: Leonora Carrington

International Women’s Day: Leonora Carrington

Latin American women are known for their power and passion and nowhere more than Mexico is this proved to be true. The path of history has been carved by many visionary doyennes, some whose names are remembered today, but many more whose brave and iconic acts have tragically become lost in the mists of time.

This International Women’s Day we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate some of the more and lesser known leading lights of Mexican history and culture to help ensure that their fearlessness continues to inspire the women of today.

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Liberated Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)

Mexico opened its arms to many Europeans fleeing the second world war and among these emigres was the fiercely independent surrealist painter Leonora Carrington. In Europe she had already established herself as part of the rising surrealist movement spearheaded by the likes of Salvador Dalí.

Arriving in Mexico City and free from the grip of a male-dominated surrealist scene in Europe, Leonora was able to funnel her unbridled creativity into the uniquely recognisable and otherworldly paintings that defined her career. As a European woman Leonora enjoyed a greater degree of freedom in the macho society of Mexico than Mexican women. And, brushing shoulders with other powerful female figureheads in Mexico at the time such as Frida Kahlo, Leonora used her influence and art to co-found the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico in the 1970s.   

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“I didn’t have time to be anyone’s muse... I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist.”

Her paintings show how she challenged of the role of women in society and particularly in the home and her independence is clear in her words: “I didn't have time to be anyone's muse... I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist.”