I recently had the opportunity to attend an exhibition on Frida Kahlo which was held at Barangaroo, Sydney. I learnt a great deal on Frida and thought I would share it with you! She had a very interesting story and was an incredible woman.
Frida Kahlo was born on 6th July, 1907. Although she used to say she was born during The Mexican Revolution and that the revolution came with her birth. The young Frida was a mischievous and restless child, being the fourth of five girls. The family had financial problems due mainly to the civil war. When Frida was six years old she developed poliomyelitis which led to problems with the muscles in her right leg. Her right leg was thinner and shorter than the left, therefore, she need to wear an orthopaedic boot. She was ridiculed by other kids, withdrew herself and spent many hours in her library at home reading books. She learnt, from her mother, how to run a home in an ailing economy and to support the revolutionaries.
In 1922, Frida achieved a milestone as she is one of just thirty five women to secure a place among two thousand students in the National Preparatory High School in Mexico City. A first step to university and also, to becoming a doctor. This was Frida’s dream. The school educated the young people that they believed would be a driving force in the country. The school focused on many social and political issues. Three years after entering the school, she become a cultivated lady with clearly defined ideas and was very popular among her peers.
On 17th September, 1925, Frida’s life changed, while taking a bus homeward with her love Alejandro, a tram smashes into them. Frida’s wounds were so excessive they could have caused her to die. Yet, Frida survived! She had to give up her dreams of becoming a doctor due to her injuries…. And so she turned her constant pain into art.
In 1928 Frida met Diego. Diego was twice Frida’s age and twice divorced. Their passion was immediate. In August 1929, they married. Frida had three passions, painting, political activism and love. All three were seen in her love for Diego. Both continued to have affairs while married. It was Diego’s affair with Frida’s sister that would lead to their eventual divorce. Though Frida had longed to have a child with Diego, her wounds from the accident led to none of her pregnancies succeeding. She turned to plants and pets as her alternative. Frida also turned her maternal instinct to teaching in 1943.
In 1939, Frida travels to Paris to participate in a showcase of Mexican art. She was the star of the exhibition. In 1940, two of her paintings are included in the International Surrealist Exhibition.
Frida is iconic for her attitude to adversity; her ideological commitments, her feminist ways, her strength and her persistent for free thinking. As well as her iconic look and artwork. I hope you enjoyed learning about Frida. I found her life quite interesting!
Ridiculously Retro XX
The pictures above were taken at The Exhibition.