Monday, May 01, 2006
Featuring Frida Kahlo
In 1953, when Frida Kahlo had her first solo exhibition in Mexico (the only one held in her native country during her lifetime), a local critic wrote: 'It is impossible to separate the life and work of this extraordinary person. Her paintings are her biography.' This observation serves to explain both why her work is so different from that of her contemporaries, the Mexican Muralists, and why she has since become a feminist icon. Her paintings were nearly all of herself and unflinching in their honesty and surrealistic expression of her struggles and experiences.
Frida Kahlo has earned my admiration, not only because she was a gifted artist, but because she overcame the obstacles of an extremely difficult life to do so. She had polio as a child and was housebound, recovering only to be involved in a horrible bus accident at the age of sixteen. Her body literally had to be pieced back together bit by bit and she was never free of pain from that time on, often bedridden again for periods of time. Before her death, the lower part of one leg had to be amputated. Her private showing in Mexico was a triumph. Her doctor had told her she must not leave her bed or she would risk her death. Instead, she had her bed carried to the opening in an ambulance so she could attend. A determined woman. A strong woman. A gifted woman. The love of her life was artist Diego Rivera.
I would highly recommend renting the doco 'The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo'.