A tribute to Frida Kahlo, by an art translator

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was always special to me, ever since I saw the movie with Salma Hayek in Spanish class.

Yes, I know, it’s pretty ‘trendy’ to say that, at the moment, because everyone loves her. Yet, I was lucky enough to see her work from up close at the Budapest National Gallery and it changed my perception of her.

I used to see her as a sort of martyr, another poor girl infatuated with the wrong man, with colourful, recognisable paintings.

In my view, her traumatic history sort of shaded the people perceived her talent.

There is a lot of pain, in her paintings, it’s impossible to not feel it.
Yet, this exhibition made me understand her on a deeper level.

By looking at her works, being able to see her actual brushstroke, I could feel her strength, her fight, her independence and, most importantly, her amazing skills.

Here’s a little tribute to Frida Kalho, by an art translator.
Indeed, there are three aspects of her I’d like to celebrate:
Her bravery, her independence and her spotless technique.

Frida Kahlo: Brave

When she was a young girl, she had a violent bus accident which caused her a lifetime of suffering.
She was bedridden, sometimes with a full-body cast for years, so she had an easel made for her bed, so she could paint lying down.

Her spine being destroyed in the accident meant she could never carry children full-term. This was a tragedy for her.

She very often depicts herself lying in bed, with external elements deciding of her life for her.

In one of her paintings, she is isolated in a desert-like world, being fed food that makes her sick, with bacteria on her sheets symbolising her sickly state. On another, still on a bed, she is vulnerable, naming, blaming everything that’s wrong with her body or what she will never have.

“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”
She painted as a way to alleviate her pain, to exorcise it.

Frida Kahlo in her garden

Frida Kahlo: Independent

Frida Kahlo always wore flamboyant traditional Mexican dress, with the much-loved Mexican flower crowns and her hair up in a beautiful bun.
She loved her dear Mexico and it was a tradition she respected.

As for the rest, she was extremely avant-garde.
Her art was sometimes unapologetically crude and violent, and showed things to the world that nobody else, at that time, knew about the female struggles.

She was so true to herself and her art, though, that she never expected people to treat her differently because she was a girl.

She was just strong.

Yes, she fell madly in love with her mentor, Diego Rivera, whom she married twice, but, after another lifetime of diverse disasters, she had to accept he couldn’t be faithful to her, and she also had lovers.

A very powerful painting about her relationship with Diego is ‘Unos cuantos piquetitos’.

I think this quote of hers particularly reflects her self-made, authentic personality:

“They are so damn ‘intellectual’ and rotten that I can’t stand them anymore….I [would] rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas, than have anything to do with those ‘artistic’ bitches of Paris.”

To be fair, it’s when art just pours out of the artist, raw, unfiltered and unconventional, that I recognise true genius.

Frida Kahlo: Talent

We often speak of the meaning of her paintings, her life, suffering and sexuality, but her technique was truly exquisite!

Her painting style is mesmerising. We can see her many hours of hard work in every piece. Even if one doesn’t like Frida Kahlo’s style, it’s impossible to deny her talent.

She uses symbols from traditional Mexican folklore, along with realism and surrealism techniques.

Her vibrant colours and modern symbols are basically everything I love. Yes, even her palette I admire.

Look at how she depicts vegetation and wild animals, the moons, the suns, so many elements that I connect to deeply and that I’ve always found aesthetically intriguing.

The paintings The Chick, Sun and Life (pictured above) and Portrait of Doña Rosita have my favourite details.

This is the end of my short tribute to Frida, I hope you enjoyed it.

Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

Posted on: 06/30/2019, by :

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