Eastwest 79

Art – Frida Kahlo: more than just an artist


A woman for all seasons, a global fashion icon and staunch feminist, as well as a talented artist.

Talk about Mexico and Frida Kahlo inevitably comes to mind – not only because of her artistic accomplishment, but also because of what she still represents today. An iconic woman of the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, she was a rare blend of femininity and feminism. A strong image and source of inspiration for fashion and the arts, Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón left us a great legacy, a manual on how to survive the saddest and most tragic aspects of life. She painted fears, anxieties and love in bright colours, with the resolve of a free spirit. Perhaps this explains why her art managed to conquer the hearts of so many women.

The thick eye brows, the flowers, the middle-parted hair, the broad colourful skirts featured in almost all of her paintings were representative of Mexican traditions that were particularly dear to her. Frida took care of her appearance and painted self-potraits, explaining: “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best”. Her works express ideas and feelings in an unmistakable artistic language: the world of her paintings is mainly rooted in Mexican folk art and pre-Columbian culture, but also takes inspiration from mural art.

Kahlo’s life was marked by pain, suffering and solitude, from contracting polio at age 6 and surviving a horrific traffic accident later on in her life to her tormented relationship to husband Diego Rivera. Modern, innovative and cutting-edge, she died alone at age 47.

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