Frida Kahlo


I am a great lover of art and have been since an early age.  When I was very young my parents told me stories about some of the great classical painters, such as Vincent Van Gough, Claude Monet and Leonardo Da Vinci.  As I was nearing my teenage years I became more interested and attracted to surrealist art and developed a fascination for surrealist painters, such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. However, my real obsession was for the work of Frida Kahlo.


Frida Kahlo was a surrealist painter, famous for her self-portraits. Although I believe that her work was quite distinguishably surrealist, as did Andre Breton when he affectionately referred to her art as “a ribbon around a bomb” , Kahlo herself believed her work to be the subject of her reality and not the more surreal aspect of her waking life, nor her dream world.  This was always fascinating to me. Kahlo’s art work has all the ingredients of surrealism: an artistic investigation into the unconscious and dream world; profound depictions of nudity, sexuality or violence; and the unadulterated expression of one’s human needs and desires, such as hunger, anger, fear, sexuality, ecstasy and so forth.  Breton himself gained the nomenclature “Pope of surrealism” and I do give him credence in his evaluation of Kahlo’s art.


Perhaps the most notable aspect of the work of Frida Kahlo, however, was the feminist message so many of her followers believe she was trying to portray. Kahlo depicted the female form as an individual entity, beautiful and interesting regardless of its gender. Kahlo, too, in her personal life chose to dress and act as an individual and not in a way that was in accordance with how women in 20th century Mexico should be behaving.  Kahlo probably didn’t consider herself a feminist but modern day feminists look back at her life and her work and understand her as a revolutionary at the time. Kahlo was born in Mexico City in 1907, a time when Mexico was being ruled by an elitist dictator. Kahlo not only became an ardent communist but she also expressed her desires in ways that were not accepted in Mexico at the time, through being promiscuous, drinking, smoking and swearing.


Kahlo was a very interesting artist and I find her work both beautiful and inspiring, whilst simultaneously being inspired by her life and her motivations as an individual.