You know her because she had thick and unruly eyebrows that were always set in a unibrow. You know her because she always wore flowers in her hair and the very brightest colors in her Mexican-inspired clothing. You know her because her art was far from polite. For me, she is so, so much more.
She is Frida Kahlo de Rivera
An amazing Latin American artist who was born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón, on July 6, 1907, in Coyoacán, Mexico.
When I look at her pictures and read about her exploits. When I watch the portrayals of her in movies one thing repeatedly stands out. She was and will always be the epitome of fierce, fabulous female resilience.
It is said that to whom much is given, much is expected. Much it appears was expected of Frida so the universe deemed her worthy of challenging. And challenge her it did.
She caught polio when she was six years old and was bedridden for nine months. At the age of eighteen, a bus accident left her with numerous broken bones and snatched away a right coveted by so many women. The ability to bring children into the world.
Seemingly to add injury to insult, she got married to Diego Rivera. One cannot ignore the support he showed for her art. However, his infidelities brought Frida great heartache and were a constant source of turmoil in their marriage. In all fairness, though I should mention that she had her fair share of ex-martial dalliances too.
Let it not be said though, that the universe does not have a sense of humor. That humor was put on display when, for her first art show in Mexico, Frida arrived in an ambulance. This was due to a gangrenous foot. She mingled proudly with the guests in attendance from the comfort of a four-poster bed. Her foot was later amputated to stop the spread of gangrene to the rest of her body.
Though fate has seemed cruel, it has been kind too. For example, among those, she counted as friends, fate deemed it a match made in heaven to add Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso to that list.
Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? In the case of Frida Kahlo, her art was a direct imitation of her life. A life she was extremely proud of and had no trouble sharing.
I am happy to be alive, as long as I can paint
Frida is quoted as having said, “I am happy to be alive, as long as I can paint.” It should, therefore, not come as a surprise that has her health began to deteriorate, she battled depression and thoughts of suicide.
I am honored to live in a time that has allowed me to get to know her. Where memories of her creative excellence and her unapologetic lifestyle are now being retold with indefatigable passion.
She is an artist. She is a strong artist. She is an inspiration. She is a strong artist who has inspired me.