A Tribute to the Women I Admire- (2) – Frida Kahlo
March 8 is International Women’s Day. So this week March 5-10, I will present a tribute to some of the women-artists that I admire for their great passion, dedication and conviction.I have made these tribute portraits in the form of artist trading cards – 2.5″ x 3.5″. I believe the word about the life and works of these women-artists have to be spread as shining examples.
A Portrait of Frida Kahlo
a visual artist
whose body was weak
but whose spirit soared like an eagle
a digital collage by Paulina Constancia
Kahlo’s life began and ended in Mexico City, in her home known as the Blue House. She gave her birth date as July 7, 1910, but her birth certificate shows July 6, 1907. Kahlo had allegedly wanted the year of her birth to coincide with the year of the beginning of the Mexican revolution so that her life would begin with the birth of modern Mexico.
I had the privilege of visiting her home- The Blue House/La Casa Azul (which is now the Museo Frida Kahlo) in Coyoacan, Mexico City. I lingered in her room – saw the special easel that allowed her to paint in bed during those long periods of excruciating pain. And indeed, if those walls could talk… they would probably agree with me when I say that no other artist in history has so intimately known and portrayed pain in as much and as well as Frida did. Frida is a shining example to the world for her strength, resilience and courage to confront her fears.
Without a doubt her greatest contribution to humanity was showing the world that in times of deep pain and great despair you can be your greatest comfort. In her case, she put them all on canvas. Her work was like art therapy, an instrument of healing.
In her words, “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
|Here are the elements I used to create the collage of Frida
Let’s get to know Frida…
Frida’s life was characterized with so much physical and emotional pain. .. “Kahlo contracted polio at age six, which left her right leg thinner than the left. It has been conjectured that she also suffered from spina bifida, a congenital disease that could have affected both spinal and leg development.“
And if that was not enough,
“..on September 17, 1925, Kahlo was riding in a bus that collided with a trolley car. She suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident, including a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. Also, an iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus, which seriously damaged her reproductive ability.
The accident left her in a great deal of pain while she spent three months recovering in a full body cast. Although she recovered from her injuries and eventually regained her ability to walk, she had relapses of extreme pain for the remainder of her life. The pain was intense and often left her confined to a hospital or bedridden for months at a time. She had as many as thirty-five operations as a result of the accident, mainly on her back, her right leg, and her right foot. The injuries also prevented Kahlo from having a child because of the medical complications and permanent damage. Though she conceived three times, all her pregnancies had to be terminated.”
According to Frida: “There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.” Her marriage to Mexican painter Diego Rivera was often troubled. Kahlo and Rivera both had irritable temperaments and numerous extramarital affairs. For her part, Kahlo was furious when she learned that Rivera had an affair with her younger sister, Cristina. The couple divorced in November 1939, but remarried in December 1940. Their second marriage was as troubled as the first.
Frida Kahlo Quotes:
“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings.”
– Frida Kahlo
“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”
“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.”
– Frida Kahlo