Artist’s rights

Frida Kahlo’s family outraged over Barbie doll made in late artist’s image

A painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo titled 'Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.' (DIETER NAGL/AFP/Getty Images)

Family members of famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo have expressed outrage at a line of new Barbie dolls that feature the late artist’s likeness. In a statement, the family accused toy-manufacturer Mattel of illegally using Kahlo’s image for its new “Inspiring Women” line of Barbies without permission, citing Mara Remo, Kahlo’s great-niece as the “sole owner of the rights of the image.” Amelia Earhart, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson and Olympic sensation Chloe Kim are some of the other women who are having dolls made in their likeness.

Barbie dolls made to look like Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo and Katherine Johnson. (Mattel)

Mattel has argued that the company had obtained the rights to produce the doll from the Panama-based Frida Kahlo Corporation, which reportedly bought the rights from Kahlo’s niece, Isolda Pinedo Kahlo, more than a decade ago. Since buying the rights, the Frida Kahlo Corporation has used the feminist artists’ image to sell Tequila and credit cards among other products — prompting outrage from members of the late artist’s family who have pointed out that Kahlo was an alcoholic and lifelong communist.

In a statement made to AFP, Romeo said that she not only objected to the commercialization of her great-aunt’s legacy, but also to the likeness of the doll itself.

“I would have liked the doll to have traits more like Frida’s, not this doll with light-colored eyes,” said Romeo.

Kahlo, a feminist icon who became famous for her striking self-portraits, died in 1954.

Read the full story at BBC News.


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