Frida Kahlo denounced femicide

In the last decades, femicide and gender violence have shown an alarming increase in Mexico

Frida Kahlo denounced femicide in one of her paintings in 1935
Frida Kahlo portrayed a victim of femicide through one of her paintings - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 16/02/2020 13:44 Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English Mexico City Actualizada 13:53
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In 1935, Frida Kahlo learned about the murder of a woman through a sensationalist newspaper. It was reported that the man stabbed his wife several times after he found out she was unfaithful.

Frida painted the femicide in her particular style. In the painting titled A Few Small Nips (Unos Cuantos Piquetitos), the victim is naked and bleeding, blood flows from her mouth. Her killer stands beside her with the knife in his hand. Moreover, the clean pink wall and blue wainscoting contrast with the rest of the blood-bespattered surroundings. There is also a scroll held up by a white dove and a black swallow, an allusion to the brighter and darker aspects of love.

A Few Small Nips by Frida Kahlo

In order to underline the dramatic effect of the painting, Frida Kahlo requested the painting was framed in smooth wood, which she stabbed and sprinkled with small drops of red paint. It is as though the blood was spattered outside of the limits of the frame into the world of the spectator, who becomes an eye-witness to the femicide.

Recommended: Visit Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City

Kahlo was also fond of ex-votos, paintings that depict a dangerous event. These paintings were usually brought to churches by the person who survived accidents, to give thanks for the miracle or divine intervention that saved their lives. However, there are no religious figures in Kahlo’s work, therefore, it implies that no one will rescue the woman.

Critics and art historians have argued the painting A Few Small Nips is related to Kahlo’s tragic personal life since she found out her husband Diego Rivera and her sister Cristina Kahlo were having an affair in 1934.

The painting is part of the permanent collection at the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City.

Recommended: New Frida Kahlo exhibition in Mexico City


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