Today is July 6th, the day that Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was born. A feminist before her time, she inspires many women today to live fully and express themselves openly. An independent woman, Frida refused to pluck her uni brow or 'mustache'. She celebrated them, painting them into her self portraits. She was a vibrant, sexually liberated woman. Her father is quoted as telling her future husband, "She is a devil". Her works display her preoccupation with female themes and the candor with which she expressed them has made her a feminist icon in the last decades of the 20th century.
As a celebration of her life I listed my Frida: Feminist Icon Uterus Plush today.
With all of the Frida love going around I thought I would tell you a bit about her, hopefully I can do her justice.
Frida was born on July 6th, 1926. At the age of 6 she contracted polio, which left her right leg thinner than her left. She wore full, billowing Spanish skirts to hide this fact. She was working towards being a doctor. At the age of 15 she was accepted into a prestigious medical preparatory school in Mexico City. Three years later her plans changed when she was involved in a devastating bus accident.
She suffered fractures of the back, collar bone, ribs, pelvis, shoulder, and foot. An iron handrail had pierced through her abdomen and uterus. She spent over a year immobilized in bed recovering. It was during this time that Frida turned towards painting. Her mother had an easel made for her so that she would be able to create while in bed. During the span of her life Frida went through 35 operations. She lived in constant pain that would often become so intense she would be confined to the hospital for months at a time.
Drawing from her own personal experiences stemming from her numerous operations, her marriage, and miscarriages her works are characterized by stark portrayals of pain. She is quoted saying, "I never painted my dreams. I painted my own reality".
Of her 143 pieces, 55 are self portraits- most of which incorporate symbols of her physical and psychological wounds.
In 1929 Frida married artist Diego Rivera, despite her mother's disapproval. Their marriage proved to be a turbulent one. Both had fiery tempers and numerous extramarital affairs, Frida's including one of my favorite women: Joesephine Baker. Diego went a step further and had an affair with Frida's sister, Christina. This enraged Frida and the couple was divorced, but not for long. The couple remarried shortly afterword and their second marriage proved to be as turbulent as the first. They kept separate living quarters.
Before she passed Frida wrote in her journal, "I hope the exit is joyful - and I hope never to return".
Frida died on July 13th. 1954 at the age of 47. The official cause of death is cited as pulmonary embolism. No autopsy was preformed and some suspected that she died from an overdose that may or may not have been accidental. Days before her death her leg had been amputated at the knee and she was again bedridden.