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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Sep 2, 2021

At first sight of Frida Kahlo’s painting The Two Fridas, author Emily Rapp Black felt an instant connection with the artist. An amputee from childhood, Rapp Black grew up with a succession of prosthetic limbs, and learned she had to hide her disability from the world. Kahlo sustained lifelong injuries after a horrific bus crash and her own right leg was eventually amputated. In Kahlo’s art, Rapp Black recognized her own life.

In this astoundingly personal presentation, Rapp Black joined us with fellow author Lidia Yuknavitch to explore her own story and her attachment to Kahlo. With candor and vulnerability, she chronicled how Kahlo’s art reflected her own, from numerous operations, to the compulsion to create, to silent pain. She told the story of losing her infant son to Tay-Sachs, giving birth to a daughter, and learning to accept her body.  Rapp Black examined how the experiences and art of another can help shape our own lives—and inspire us to find a way forward when all seems lost.

Emily Rapp Black is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World, Sanctuary, and Frida Kalho and My Left Leg. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Vogue; The New York Times; Time; The Wall Street Journal; O, The Oprah Magazine; and the Los Angeles Times. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review and is the nonfiction editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. Rapp is currently an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, where she also teaches medical narratives in the university’s School of Medicine.

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the bestselling novels The Book of Joan, a cli fi restorying of Joan of Arc, The Small Backs of Children, and Dora: A Headcase. Her memoir The Chronology of Water is currently being adapted for film by Kristen Stewart. Her book The Misfit’s Manifesto is based on her TED Talk “On The Beauty of Being a Misfit.” Her book of short stories, Verge, was published in 2020, and her next novel, Thrust is forthcoming. She founded the creative lab Corporeal Writing in Portland, Oregon.

Buy the Book: Frida Kahlo and My Left Leg (Hardcover)
Elliott Bay Books 

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