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...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Frida Day

Today is my personal celebration of Frida Kahlo.  She inspires me, inspires many women and especially women artists.  It is my hope her story also inspires many men.

Though she lived a life beset with enormous physical pain, she is best known for her self-portraits.  Kahlo's work is remembered for its "pain and passion," and its intense, vibrant colors.

"I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best."  

She also stated, "I was born a bitch. I was born a painter."  

She was one of four daughters born to a Hungarian-Jewish father and a mother of Spanish and Mexican Indian descent. She did not originally plan to become an artist. A survivor of polio, she entered a pre-med program in Mexico City. At the age of 18, she was seriously injured in a bus accident. She spent over a year in bed recovering from fractures to her spine, collarbone and ribs, a shattered pelvis, and shoulder and foot injuries. She endured more than 30 operations in her lifetime and during her convalescence she began to paint. 

Her paintings, mostly self-portraits and still life, were deliberately na├»ve, and filled with the colors and forms of Mexican folk art. At 22 she married the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, 20 years her senior. Their stormy, passionate relationship survived infidelities, the pressures of careers, divorce, remarriage, Frida's bi-sexual affairs, her poor health and her inability to have children. 

Frida once said, "I suffered two grave accidents in my life…One in which a streetcar knocked me down and the other was Diego." The streetcar accident left her crippled physically and Rivera crippled her emotionally.  During her lifetime, Frida created some 200 paintings, drawings and sketches related to her experiences in life, physical and emotional pain and her turbulent relationship with Diego. Fifty five of her paintings are self-portraits.

She was cremated after her death.  One account notes that as the cries of her admirers filled the room, the sudden blast of heat from the open incinerator doors caused her body to bolt upright. Her hair, now on fire from the flames, blazed around her head like a halo. Frida's lips seemed to break into a seductive grin just as the doors closed. Her last diary entry read: "I hope the end is joyful - and I hope never to return - Frida."