10 Nov Frida Kahlo’s Legacy
Undoubtedly the most popular Mexican artist in the world and the Queen of self portraits, Frida Kahlo left her mark on the world with her breathtaking works. Today, let us export you to the fascinating world of Frida, because there is just so much to know about this terrific woman.
Not surprisingly, there was something unique about Frida from the time she was born. Frida Kahlo was actually born Magdalena Frida Carmen Kahlo y Calderón in Coyoacán, Mexico. Rebellious as she was, her birth certificate states that she was born on July 6, 1907, however she states she was actually born in 1910. Wonder why? Kahlo was known to be deeply patriotic, and the year 1910 coincides with the Mexican revolution that lasted a decade- and hence, her decision to do this was to be a voice for the oppressed, and not to appear younger.
They say not all dreams come true, and Frida dreamed of being a doctor. Her father was a photographer that piqued her interest in the arts from an early age; however this was her secondary desire. Frida was an excellent student but was struck by polio at the age of 6, disrupting her childhood because of her being unable to use her right leg. What’s more? Her right foot stopped growing for which she was given the nickname by her classmates ‘Frida the gimp’. Despite setbacks, Frida was admitted into a prestigious Mexican school at the age of 16. She was one of 35 accepted students out of 2,000 applicants.
Just when Frida thought life was finally normal, at the age of 18, she met with a terrible accident on a city bus colliding with a tram. Tragically, her abdomen was completely injured and Kahlo had to go through 30 operations. ironic that the one who originally intended to care for others had to spend the rest of her life as a patient.
But… this is destiny, and this was when her life truly transformed. Frida Kahlo’s disability forced her to renounce her ambitions of becoming a doctor. Her salvation? Art. In an effort to help their daughter cope with her accident, her parents ordered a bespoke easel that she could use while lying down, which helped protect her fragile spine. Self-portraits hold a very important place in her work; about 55 of the 150 works she painted. By making herself the subject, she expresses her suffering, and thus, painting becomes a voice of her pain.
In 1928, as her health gradually improved, she joined the Mexican Communist party. Mexico’s politics were unstable at the time and she decided to make her contribution. and offered political asylum to the Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his wife. Frida’s goals were clear: wanting to improve the condition of Mexican women, fighting for their emancipation, and being their voice. She took the role of a ‘modern woman’ and was no longer ashamed of her bisexuality. And for this, she used painting as a means of conveying her political messages; boldly advertising her anti-American stance in her self portraits.
Despite her challenging life, her love life was far from calm. Diego Rivera, was the love of her life, but not for long- after she discovered that he was having an affair with her younger sister! Rumour has it that Kahlo had an affair also with Leon Trotsky, and then later with Josephine Baker. Indeed, by the middle of the 20th century, Frida Kahlo was a polyamourous pioneer, free of complexes.
And to those who see Frida as a neglected and handicapped woman, might want to think again. She was definitely a timeless beauty icon, a strong, avant-garde women, a mode, muse, and a leader for thousands of women to look up to! She definitely became a great source of inspiration for artists and stylists. And her face is a masterpiece in its own right- she designed her own hairstyles, decorating them with coloured ribbons, strands of wool and flowers. With her bold red lips, unibrow, and a confident look on her face, her style and individuality speak for themselves.
What’s not to love about this incredible artist? We are sure you are intrigued by all the amazing facts about Frida. It is worth keeping her as a memory close to you to be reminded of her strength and how inspiring she is. A few months ago, we also hosted a paint night event to pay a tribute to our wonderful Frida. If you like staying indoors and doing something creative, try our Frida Kahlo paint by numbers for adults kit today and create your very own Frida- as unique as she herself is. With our easy painting online tutorial and canvas painting for beginners, everyone can create a masterpiece!