An iconic uni-brow, flowers around head and a moustache on a portrait! You might have seen this a million times and if you don’t know who she is! I will tell you a story of a Mexican artist who declared her presence in the world through her art and philosophy. She is Frida Kahlo and we have to talk about her on International Women’s Day.
Who Is Frida Kahlo?
Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico and is known for her self portraits that speak about feminine identity that a woman still struggles with even in 21st Century. Kahlo was born to a German father and Mexican mother. Her father was a photographer and she grew up with him in studios looking at pictures and was interested in arts from a very young age.
She was disabled at the age of two by polio but she never let her disability come in her way and actively participated in sports, cooking and painting. When she was 18 she met a grave accident that almost took her life. She had to go through multiple surgeries and had to sit at home for a very long period of time.
What Was Her Ability To Invalidate Society?
While Frida was recuperating from her surgeries she took up painting seriously and started by painting flowers and self portraits. People talk about her relationship with her husband Diego Riviera whom she divorced and remarried. In her lifetime she had a long list of lovers including both men and women. She never felt shy to express her identity and therefore is an icon among people of LGBTQIA+ community. Frida was once asked about why she makes self portraits to which she said, “I am often alone and when it comes to choosing something as a subject I feel that I know myself best”. She gained fame very late in her life but I am glad she did as she gave so much to look at on International Women’s Day.
Why Modern Woman Looks Upon Her?
Her right leg was severely stunted and she hid that by wearing colourful skirts that also represented her Mexican heritage. Later in life her leg got infected by gangrene and she had to get it amputated to control the infection. But she immediately got herself a prosthetic leg and her spirit stood unshaken. She once said, “Feet, what do I want them for if I have wings to fly?” She also read a lot and never shied away from politics.
At National Preparatory School, Frida studied about Indigenismo which was a philosophy that freed Mexican people from idea that Europeans were superior to them. She was also part of a group called Cachucas which rebelled against conservative ideas. She also joined Mexican Communist Party in 1948 and even went to United States to protest against CIA invasion of Guatemala.
How Modern Woman Reads Activism In Her Eyes?
In her life Frida had to suffer from both physical and mental pain but in her portraits you can see a queen standing tall. Not a single ounce of pity in her eyes and it looks like she can bloom even if she was kept on a burning flame. This is a very deep lesson as women in modern world live in constant hysteria brought by men and women upon them. Women are tied with unreal ethical ropes without taking any consent and they are supposed to live in those bounds. Not only men but women themselves encourage each other to bring that torture to life of a woman who wants to live on her own terms.
Very often we see women who are called names are the ones that don’t care about the bounds and like Frida they celebrate their bodies, sexuality, profession, identity and so many more things. We all should aspire to be that woman because she entails that everyone should have the right to be happy and free. On International Women’s Day we should remember what values Frida left for us as a legacy so that millions of women can wake up everyday with a purpose.