Sunday, February 21, 2016

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican feminist who was beyond her time.  Not only does her artwork embody modern ideas with surrealism, but her subject matter and unique style is taught in art classrooms across the world.   After being immobilized from a tragic automobile accident in her teenage years, Frida was on bed rest and had restrained movement for much of her life.  She would lie in her bed, staring at herself in the mirror mounted above her bed, and paint self-portraits of her pain and thoughts on the world.    Her ability to see beyond the constraints of her time grants her immortality.
Frida’s life was often admired for reasons beyond her art.  Her life was especially difficult, with polio as a child, a tragic accident in her teenage years, and pain that lasted the rest of her life. She was also well known for a glamorous life among the famous, including Tina Modotti and Leon Trotsky.   Kahlo was also well known for feminism activism.
Frida had a complicated relationship with her husband.  This site notes, “She often referred to him as her baby. She met him while still a schoolgirl and later, in 1929, became the third wife of a man who gaily accepted the diagnosis of his doctor that he was "unfit for monogamy."   They were known to not be monogamous, as Frida had many lesbian lovers while she was married.   Additionally, the accident maimed Frida, making her infertile, so she was never able to fulfill her lifelong dreams of being a mother.
Frida was diagnosed with polio as a child, she hid her deformity from the world with bandages wrapped around her thinning leg and wore thick wool socks over them to prevent the world from seeing.  Frida saw the good in the worst parts of life. “My papa and mama began to spoil me a lot and love me more,” Kahlo told Campos.  This source continues on to say that, “This statement, extraordinary in its pathos, provides one sorrowful key to the artist’s psyche”.  Frida continued on to associate pain with love, with her response to one Rorschach as, “male genitals with fire and thorns”.