Free the Frida within you
Why I love Frida Kahlo and she is still an icon for women everywhere
Ever since I heard the first time about the Mexican icon painter Frida Kahlo, I fell in love and it’s been a few years now of intense admiration and fascination towards her.
With her colourful clothes, mono eyebrow and flowers in the hair, Frida has become nowadays a cool image to put on a wall of a hipster pub or even on the case of a free spirit’s phone, but for me she is so much more than a clique. And that is maybe because I also aspire to be an artist who can one day express my art just like her- the ugliness of life, in such a beautiful and magical way, which makes you feel that you could at any time step inside one of her paintings and relive it.
Needless to say that she is an amazing artist who created her own painting style in times in which women who painted were most probably doing it as a hobby in between raising kids and taking care of the household. Moreover, Frida and women like her are still worth being mentioned because they prove that no matter what hardships life gives you, you can take the remaining pieces and create your own mosaic. Frida was a soul that was hit by pain early and it continued all throughout her life, becoming in the end her signature. This woman made herself beautiful physically even though she was disabled, and astonishingly beautiful intellectually and emotionally even though she was scarred by heartbreaks and disappointments. She was one of the first world-known women to show fragility, because she understood the strength in vulnerability. Furthermore, she refused to live within the stereotype of the woman of those days, of the wife, of the painter or of the very ill person who cannot do anything because of her condition.
She was married to a great painter of that time, Diego Rivera, but refused to live in the shadow of his fame. Frida found inspiration in the Mexican folk culture and brought it to the attention of the rest of the world through her work and through herself, as she dressed traditionally and gave a whole new meaning to being humble and culturally proud. She was politically involved and expressed her communist views by being part of a the communist party in Mexico in the 20s and also through her art.
Frida was a woman who allowed her pain to live within her and freed it in a creative and inspirational way. She created a pain diary by documenting her life through countless self portraits, in which she painted the Frida people saw on the outside and the tormented inside Frida. This is one of the first times a woman used her suffering as a colour on the palette and showed to the whole world how she really felt. I admire her strength and way of illustrating the dark moments in her life as a woman in the first part of the 20th century in Mexico, living through political instability, health issues and countless heartbreaks. Her paintings don’t just speak to women from that time- they speak to little girls and old women nowadays, to women from all over the world, regardless their religious or political beliefs, because they are above all any woman’s problems. Frida illustrated the pain of miscarriage and inability to bear children in her iconic painting called ‘The flying bed’ after experiencing a traumatic event that made it clear she would not become a mother, something she really desired. Fertility is still such a relevant topic in a woman’s life, regardless if she will or not have children- as the women have been for thousands of years seen as the symbol of life giving. Frida never had children, but her artistic womb was full of creativity and conceived tens of masterpieces who still inspire the world .
Overall, I think she is a symbol of freedom and bravery for me because she strived to win against the odds of her health issues and gender in those times and was not afraid to speak up her mind and put her pain and passion into something that today a young woman can look at and say- ‘Wow, I want to be like her one day’.
Obviously, there are many Fridas around all of us, just look carefully and don't keep the one inside you locked. Free Frida or as Frida herself said in one of her paintings: 'Viva la vida!'.