The tremendous Mexican icon Frida Kahlo was an artist famous for depicting indigenous Mexican culture and feminist values through her artwork. Her paintings speak of agony and passion, hope and belief. However, her artwork, especially Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits, depicts much more than herself and her surroundings.
Instead, it has a deeper meaning of her memories and experiences that she expresses via her portraits. While Kahlo is famous for her artwork, several interesting facts about the artist need attention. Some of them are shared below:
Frida Kahlo did not dream of becoming an artist
Interesting as it may sound, becoming an artist was not a top priority for Kahlo, who is now recognized as one of the greatest Mexican artists. Kahlo’s father was a German photographer who later moved to Mexico and married her mother. In Kahlo’s opinion, her mother was a religious fanatic, though kind and intelligent. Kahlo was, however, close to her father and would spend a lot of time with him in his photography studio.
As a child, Kahlo was less fascinated with art and more interested in science. And from a tender age, she dreamt of becoming a doctor. Yet, it was her fate that she ended up with a career in arts, which became a means for her lifelong fame.
Frida Kahlo began her career by painting her pain and injuries
Artwork by Frida Kahlo describes a lot about herself and has hidden symbolism. When it comes to her health, Frida suffered a lot. At 6, she contracted polio, and her right leg became thinner and shorter. However, Kahlo loved long Mexican dresses, often saying they helped her hide her disability.
Later at the age of 18, she met a severe bus accident. She had major fractures, and her body was significantly damaged. It took about 35 operations to recover. Despite the pain and injuries, Kahlo used to sit on the hospital bed and paint. There are several famous drawings by Frida Kahlo that represent her pain. She says, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
The drawings by Frida Kahlo showcase her physical and emotional injuries. She painted ‘The Broken column,’ showing her shattered spine. In addition, ‘Without Hope’ was another portrait reflecting her loss of appetite and forced feeding. The accident adversely affected her later life, and she faced several problems with pregnancy.
Artwork by Frida Kahlo describes her miscarriages and the pain associated with them. The portrait of Henry Ford Hospital perfectly depicts the feelings of helplessness and discomfort that Kahlo went through after her second miscarriage. She lays naked on a hospital bed, surrounded by blood, a fetus, flowers, and other flying objects. As mentioned earlier, these are examples of how Kahlo describes her personal experience via her artwork.
She attended her first solo exhibition on a stretcher
Frida Kahlo has significantly impacted Mexican culture and history, but her health has made things difficult for the Mexican icon.
Kahlo struggled from a very early age. Her health condition continued to worsen with time. The last few years of her life were spent in and out of the hospital. This was to such an extent that she had to attend her first solo exhibition in Mexico in an ambulance. The exhibition occurred at Galeria de Arte Contemporaneo, and people thought she was too ill to attend. Yet she made it in an ambulance and entered the place on her stretcher.
You can find Kahlo’s face on money
Frida Kahlo’s art has been called surrealist and folk art since it showcased traditional Mexican culture. She and her husband, Diego Rivera, were among the most famous artists who made it to the 500 Mexican peso bill. You would see the portrait of Rivera on one side and Kahlo on the other. This bill marks the birth of the Mexican Revolution. It also contains the following quote by Rivera:
“It has been said that revolution does not need art, but that art needs the revolution. That is not true. The revolution needs revolutionary art.”
Frida Kahlo is now a famous LGBTQI icon
Kahlo is appreciated for embracing her feministic qualities and her masculinity. She belonged to a time when gender roles were segregated.
Yet, she smoked and often dressed as a man. She was also seen in traditional Mexican clothing and braided hair. She was confident about her masculine features of a pale mustache and her monobrow. She would not sugarcoat her appearance and paint her true self, as seen through Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits.
Kahlo was a bisexual, and she never hid this from the world. Since her marriage was Rivera was not so good, Kahlo had affairs with both men and women. Kahlo was outspoken and confident about gender roles and a proponent of body positivity. This made her an icon for LGBTQI and the feminist community, and she is remembered to date.
Frida Kahlo was a famous Mexican artist who loved to create self-portraits that were an example of her personal experiences. On the one hand, she showcased her feelings of pain and anguish through her portraits; on the other, she demonstrated her enthusiasm for nationalism and patriotism.
Kahlo might be famous for her elaborate ways of exploring indigenous Mexican culture, but there are a lot of other things that are not widely talked about. For example, Kahlo faced several health issues from a very young age, and this misery related to her health was the means of symbolism in her artwork. Kahlo was also a famous feminist icon, and her work has established her position as a tremendous Mexican icon who is celebrated to date.