British-born painter, writer and sculptor Leonora Carrington was considered one of the last of the original surrealists. She was a member of a rare trio of Mexico-based female surrealists along with Frida Kahlo and Remedios Varo. She was also part of a famous wave of artistic and political emigres who arrived in the male-dominated realm of surrealism in Mexico during the 1930s and ’40s.

British-born painter, writer and sculptor Leonora Carrington was considered one of the last of the original surrealists. She was a member of a rare trio of Mexico-based female surrealists along with Frida Kahlo and Remedios Varo. She was part of a famous wave of artistic and political emigres who arrived in the male-dominated realm of surrealism in Mexico during the 1930s and ’40s. Outside of art, Carrington was also politically active, becoming a founding member of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico. Her works feature her bold exploration of depicting female sexuality, the female body, and the role of women in creative processes.

Her pursuit of these topics can be seen in Carrington’s works which contain food imagery. Such food-related imagery, which includes spaces such as kitchens, can be found not only in the works of Carrington, but other artists such as Varo and Frida Kahlo’s as well. Traditionally, women have managed food-making and so the kitchen is often viewed as the domain for women, and food as part of that domain. Food thus seems to take on a unique feminine, and even feminist, meaning in artwork: it connects the usual divide between ‘artistic creation’, a feat usually assigned to men who typically work away from family, and home, the domestic space associated with women.  

This point female artists such as Carrington make in including food-related imagery in their works is an illuminating nod to the lives and gender roles most women at the time had to fulfill, while simultaneously challenging the notion that women cannot create art because they are limited by the confines of a home. 

Through her artistic and political endeavors, Carrington pushed beyond the gender boundaries of her time, and her independent exploration and interpretation of female sexuality in surrealism makes her a trailblazer in her own right. 

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