Frida Kahlo: a brilliant life built from the shadows

The artist faced hardship in multiple occasions throughout her life, and her legacy lives on beyond the borders of her home country, Mexico

Frida Kahlo: a brilliant life built from the shadows

Frida Kahlo is without any doubt one of the most important Mexican figures. Her artwork emphasized her physical and emotional pain during most of her life and her thoughts and actions led her to position herself as one of the best representatives of female power and the independence of women, all because of a wave of unfortunate events.

Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo was born in 1907, in a house that today is internationally known as The Blue House. This place was owned by her parents since 1904 and later became one of the artist's residences. Frida was the third of four sisters and grew up under artistic influence, since her father Guillermo was a photographer. Kahlo suffered from poliomyelitis, a disease that caused her right leg to be thinner than her left one, making her rehabilitation process a long and painful one and at the same time, progressively deteriorating her womb. Despite of the fight against the disease, her life became blurred again, when at the age of 18, she suffered a serious car accident, causing fractures in her pelvis, ribs, back, right leg and clavicle,. This left her completely immobilized and prostrate in bed for long months. Paradoxically, this convalescence was what motivated her to start painting and later on, to interact with different artists, like Diego Rivera, to whom she married in 1929.

Frida was undoubtedly an icon of independence and strength, not only because she repeatedly overcame the multiple health problems, abortions resulting from her poliomyelitis and her previous accident, and marital problems, but also because she demonstrated in her actions her support for her revolutionary political party and the Mexican culture. Kahlo exposed her pain, her character, her roots and her life perceptions, not only through painting, but also, through writing, both prose and poetry, and even in her style, characterized by her long dresses, braids and accessories. Her style positioned her as the first Mexican to appear in Vogue magazine in 1937 and she has also been a source of inspiration for important designers.

Since 1944 her health declined, leading her to stay in the hospital for a long period. In 1953 one of her legs had to be amputated and in 1954, while she was staying at the Blue House, the artist passed away. Frida was a woman without schemes or limits, she imposed her thoughts, took herself as a model of her artworks and showed that self-love and self-sufficient nature can become an example for women of future generations. The artist left a great legacy that has crossed the borders of her native country and has been inspiration at a world-wide level.

 

Latin American Post | Manuela García

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda

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