Frida Kahlo, an inspirational woman artist for all time | Sunday Observer

Frida Kahlo, an inspirational woman artist for all time

10 January, 2021

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) was a popular Mexican artist, who could be considered as one of the most celebrated female artists in the world and her name resounds in the global art scene still, even after many decades of her departure.

Frida’s life was full of pain and misery. She contracted polio as a child and survived a bus accident in which she was seriously injured at a young age and underwent 30 surgeries. Throughout her very short, yet too fascinating artistic career, Frida drew many portraits and the vast majority of them were self-portraits.

Explaining her obsession behind drawing her own portraits she once said, “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone and because I am the person I know best.”

The themes of most of her paintings were based on her own life’s tragedy and she deliberately tried to express her own agony on canvas. Although they may seem like very personal expressions, the colours, symbols, and shapes of her paintings represent the post-colonial discourse and exemplify the magical realism of Latin American folklore.

‘The Painting of the week’ segment is dedicated to Frida’s ‘Self Portrait as a Tehuana’ (1943), which can be considered as one of the most sentimentally brilliant paintings of her career.

Frida took three years to complete this painting which she started when she and Diego Rivera divorced. This painting is also referred to as ‘Diego in my Thoughts’ and ‘Thinking of Diego’.

Frieda married Diego Rivera (1886-1957), a well-known Mexican artist, 20 years older than her.

‘Self Portrait as a Tehuana’ expresses Frida’s desire to retain Diego, who continued to betray her with his numerous affairs with other women. The main reason they split up after ten years of marriage was Diego’s frequent betrayal. However, she could not continue life without thinking about him.

The miniature portrait of Diego on her forehead expresses the strong yet too suicidal bond and obsessive love that she had for Diego whom she considered as her soul-mate. In that sense, this is a painting that also includes a portrait within a self-portrait.

The dress she is wearing in the painting is a Mexican traditional, folk women’s dress and the reason behind selecting such a dress was because Rivera was very fond of that style of dress. Throughout the painting the viewer can observe the Latin American colour peculiarities, conversational peculiarities, as well as the complexities about love, marriage and hope.

Of the many famous quotes by Frida, her, rather a kind of a confession about her relationship with Diego, was very powerful.

She said,“There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”

Frida Kahlo is an inspirational woman artist for all time and undoubtedly her artistic spirit will remain in the arts sphere forever.