I have been a long time fan of Frida Kahlo, I have that slightly snobby feeling of loving her before she became a well known iconic figure.
I had the privilege of visiting her house in Mexico City, Casa Azul, that living shrine to all things Frida. It was such a marvellous experience walking down the cobbled streets where she would walk with her mismatched legs, taking in the same grand gnarly trees, passing by the church where she got kicked out of Sunday school for questioning Mary’s virginity. I got kicked out of Sunday school too, but that’s not the only reason I feel an affinity.
She was a woman artist in a man’s world. Very much overshadowed by her big shot husband Diego Rivera, she diligently persisted and developed her own style. She was incredibly courageous, she lived through the most horrific health issues and still loved and created with passion.
She refused to be categorised. The surrealists wanted her in their gang but she simply “Painted her own reality”. She was unflinchingly honest. Her paintings often portraying her looking directly at herself and all the beauty, struggles and pain.
She flamboyantly dressed up, made herself and her disabilities into living artworks. She embraced contradictions and didn’t apologise. She was fiercely loyal and had affairs, she was very vulnerable and powerful too. She was German and Mexican, she loved men and women. She said “I have enjoyed being contrary”.
I’m going to be launching an immersive art adventure exploring this fascinating woman and her art. It will be a way of having a personal response as well as learning more about her amazing life. There are mixed media art prompts, a meditation, demos, and a marvellous creative community to share it with.
Do join us, starting 12th July.