Survivor, Painter & Feminist: Frida Kahlo
Her artwork is so beautiful and it's her self-portraits that I really love. Even though a monobrow is, well, I don't want to say frowned upon, because it's not, but if I had one, my
Her artwork is so beautiful and it’s her self-portraits that I really love. Even though a monobrow is, well, I don’t want to say frowned upon, because it’s not, but if I had one, my friends would perhaps disown me, but who’s to say I shouldn’t have one if I wanted one. Well that’s what Frida thought, she was all, “screw the rules I’m having a a monobrow, a singlet, just the one, uno, uni, unibrow”, and she worked it and looked simply stunning in all of her self-portraits and photographs that were taken of her.
Frida Kahlo however, was not only famous for her delightful artwork, her androgynous unibrow and her admirable wardrobe, but for her bravery and survival, her devotion to her indigenous culture, her Mexican heritage, and her feminist approach to her artwork.
As a small child Frida Kahlo was diagnosed with polio which caused her to be bedridden for some time. In later years she was then in a bus accident which caused her serious damage to her pelvis and spine, meaning she was in pain most of her days. There is some good that comes out of such traumatic beginning, as it were during her home recovery where she started to paint. Her artwork consists of her challenges toward cultural norms, looking at gender equality, abortion, sexuality, (all very taboo subjects for her culture of that time). Frida looked at unconventional beauty ideals, as shown through her artwork as she highlighted her dark facial hair and deepened it with bold, black, brush strokes. Frida was pretty much the definition of freedom, and I mean the woman, not her name, which is funny because it sounds so similar. Her artwork was her voice, it was her way of saying she wasn’t going to condemn to the typical ideologies of femininity or sexuality. A lot of Frida’s work also consists of pain and heartache. After her bus accident Frida was left unable to have children and it was through her artwork she expressed her physical suffering.
“I paint myself because I am so often alone,” she later said, “because I am the subject I know best.”
However, her self-portraits do not show a woman who is suffering or who is sad, the woman looking back is brave and bold, the woman looking back is a survivor. Yet, her paintings may be bleak of colour (okay so maybe not the example I just gave of The Frame 1938, but it’s my favourite one, so let me off), Frida always made sure her vibrant colours of her clothing are noticed, celebrating her heritage through her traditional Mexican clothing. The flowers in her hair, her accessories and her brightly coloured dresses, all very much feminine, statement pieces (and extremely controversial of her unibrow, but that’s why I love her.) The colours Frida wears in her paintings show that she was not suffering but that she was a courageous character, that she could be strong and female at the same time. I salute you Frida.