“I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.” ~Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo, one of Mexico’s most famous artists has a cult following of people from all swaths of society. But what makes her so unique?
Just through her looks, Frida defied stereotypical female identity. She not only embraced her male characteristics, she took pride in them. At times even accentuating her eyebrows and lip hair. Her gender defiance didn’t stop there. She periodically cross-dressed and was an unapologetic bisexual. Frida’s female lovers included such names as Josephine Baker and the women that her husband would cheat on her with, some of which remarked that Frida was the better lover.
Her life with her husband was just as complicated as she was. They were married in 1929 but preferred to live in separate houses, though on the same compound. He was not faithful nor was she. Frida had both male and female lovers. Frida and her husband divorced in 1939 but remarried in 1940.
Frida’s art was layered and raw, reflecting her pain. She depicted self-portraits brutally showing her emotions as she at times struggled with her sense of self, based on injuries from her youth. When she was a child she suffered from polio, permanently leaving her with a limp. The other injury resulted from an accident where she was impaled by a steel rod. This injury kept her from being able to carry a child full term. Two of her paintings, The Four Inhabitants, and Henry Ford Hospital explore her struggles with infertility and her desire to be a mother.
Books for you if you are inspired by Frida:
- Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Harrera
- Veins of the Ocean By Patricia Engel In this story a Latina struggles with finding her identity and reconciling her past.
- Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allande Eliza, adopted and living in Chili falls in love with an inappropriate young man and follows him to California during the time of the gold rush.