15 | FEB | 2019
Frida Kahlo: A female icon of Mexican art
Her eyebrows and braids are imprinted in all kinds of jewelry, handbags, tapestries, aprons, t-shirts, dishes, puzzles, emojis, dolls, coffee mugs, puppets, postcards, and even underwear - Photo: Philippe Wojazer/REUTERS

Frida Kahlo: A female icon of Mexican art

06/07/2018
15:06
Notimex
Mexico City
-A +A
Mexican painter Frida Kahlo's work is, in her own words, the most honest expression of her own self

Her eyebrows and braids are imprinted in all kinds of jewelry, handbags, tapestries, aprons, t-shirts, dishes, puzzles, emojis, dolls, coffee mugs, puppets, postcards, and even underwear. The image of Frida Kahlo has been commercialized to a point where her true character as an artist and individual gets blurred along the way, though her popularity has increased exponentially in the last few years.

Over time, the renowned couple “Diego and Frida,” has become “Frida and Diego,” as if the importance of the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera had gradually been watered down in the world of culture and art, allowing the author of paintings such asLa columna” (The Column) and “La mesa herida” (The Wounded Table), to shine by herself, and not subordinated to a male figure.

While they were alive, Diego Rivera was more famous than Frida, but the celebrated muralist has been outshined by Magdalena del Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón, a woman who painted from herself and to herself.

 

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Her work is, in her own words, the most honest expression of her own self, as she described it in 1947, and it couldn’t be any other way, since she is now considered the most important self-portrait painter in the history of Mexican Art.

Both her work and her self are confusing, painful, intriguing, communist, rebellious, unafraid, obsessed, brilliant, and singular. She was an advocate for the rights of indigenous people in Mexico, turning their ordinariness into a symbol of national pride.

Her lifestyle and freethinking used to be a motive for scandal in society and yet, since the late 20th century, her image has been transformed into an icon of Mexican culture, a reference for sexual liberation, feminism, fashion, and gay culture.

 

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The cultural transvestism of Frida Kahlo

"It's her construction, a theatricalization,” said James Oles, an expert on Latin American art, about this practice of dressing in the clothing from other cultures
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The reputation of her work was closely intertwined with the way she spoke, smoked, lived, and dressed; Today, she is a benchmark, an inspiration, and a role model. Today, her personal life seems more important than her creations.

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