Frida Kahlo, unquestionably the most well-known Mexican artist in the entire world, left her stamp on art history with her emotional creations and powerful self-portraits. This week, KAZoART introduces you to the fascinating Mexicana artist and shares ten interesting facts about her life.
1. Her “Name” Is Merely a Moniker
In Coyoacán, Mexico, Frida Kahlo was actually born Magdalena Frida Carmen Kahlo y Calderón. Diego Rivera, her spouse, had no better circumstances. Diego Mara de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta and Rodriguez were his full names. Phew!
2. She Celebrated a Contentious Birthday.
Wow, Frida was a true renegade. She maintains that she was actually born on July 7, 1910, even though her birth certificate lists her date of birth as July 6, 1907. This decision wasn’t made at random. The 10-year-long Mexican revolution began in the year 1910. Frida Kahlo, who had a strong sense of patriotism, always aimed to speak up for the underprivileged. She did not merely contest her birth date to appear younger; her motivation to do so was politically motivated.
3. She Desired to Become a Doctor.
Prior to starting to paint, Frida dreamed of becoming a doctor. Her early interest in the arts was sparked by the fact that her father was a photographer. But her passion to practice medicine always came first.
Despite being a stellar student, Frida contracted polio when she was just 6 years old. She lost the use of a portion of her right leg as a result, disrupting her upbringing. Her right foot also stopped developing. She was known among her peers as “Frida la coja,” or Frida the gimp.
Despite obstacles, Frida got accepted at the age of 16 into a famous Mexican school. Out of 2,000 candidates, she was one of 35 students that were accepted.
4. She Experienced Tragedy.
Frida’s struggles may have ended there. But everything changed when I was 18 years old. She and her partner were victims of a horrible accident while riding a municipal bus. Many of the passengers, including Frida Kahlo, were critically hurt in the collision with the tram.
An iron bar slammed into her stomach. She spent months in the hospital and had about 30 procedures. The person who initially planned to take care of others was forced to live out the remainder of her days as a patient.
5. She Remains the Queen of Self-Portraits
Due to her infirmity, Frida Kahlo was obliged to give up her dream of becoming a doctor. Art would be her savior. Her parents purchased a specially designed easel that she could use while lying down to help their daughter deal with her accident. This shielded her spine, which was vulnerable.
Self-portraits play a significant role in her art. Of the 150 paintings she created, they make up around 55. She conveys her suffering by making herself the subject. Thus, her paintings start to speak for her pain.
She cannot conceal her worries because they are an essential part of who she is. Other artists, like Van Gogh or Rembrandt, also portrayed themselves in precarious or extreme situations, making it clear how precarious their mental state was.
6. She Participated in Politics.
As her condition progressively became better in 1928, Frida Kahlo enrolled in the Mexican Communist party. She made the decision to contribute because the political climate in her nation was unstable at the time. She granted political sanctuary to Leon Trotsky and his wife, a revolutionary communist, in 1937.
She had a clear goal in mind: to help the situation of Mexican women. She campaigned for their freedom. She aimed to represent the voice of oppressed women in a patriarchal culture.
She rapidly adopted the persona of a “contemporary woman” and stopped feeling self-conscious about being bisexual. She publicly promoted her anti-American stance in her 1932 painting Self Portrait on the Border between Mexico and the United States, which she used to express her political sentiments.
7. She Was Much in Love with Diego Rivera.
Despite her challenging health, Frida Kahlo’s romantic life was everything but tranquil. The Mexican artist Diego Rivera was the love of her life, yet for Frida, a relationship does not necessarily imply fidelity. Diego, though, experienced the same thing. He was having an affair with Frida’s younger sister, it was later discovered.
There were rumors that Leon Trotsky and Frida Kahlo were romantically involved. Not only that, but she also had a relationship with French artist Josephine Baker. Frida had no complexes during the middle of the 20th century and was a pioneering polyamorous person.
Read more: Top 5 Unknown Facts About Louise Fletcher
8. She Is a Style Icon
Think again, people who consider Frida to be an ugly, disabled woman. She was and still is a symbol of beauty, particularly for her era. A powerful, avant-garde woman, muse, role model, and inspirational figure for many women. It is hardly surprising that she served as a model for stylists and artists.
Her face is a work of art in and of itself. She created her own hairstyles, embellishing them with flowers, colored ribbons, and wool strands. No one can ignore her incredibly distinctive style, which includes red lips, a single unibrow that is prominently shown in all of her paintings, and a confident expression on her face.
The relationship between women’s bodies and their minds is also questioned in Frida Kahlo’s artwork. Hers was first afflicted with illness. Her abdominal muscles then tore. She was rendered infertile as a result, unable to conceive.