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Frida Kahlo: The symbol of Mexico and feminism

25. 06. 2020

Viva la Frida! Few women have succeeded as painters in the last century, when the world still belonged mainly to men. Few women have managed to become a symbol of their country and the feminist movement at the same time. Frida Kahlo was certainly not the ordinary wife of her famous husband. She was an independent, free personality – practically a black sheep in her time. Unfortunately, her life journey was not too long and she was full of pain and struggle with an unfavorable fate, yet it affected millions of people all over the planet. Read about the life of a Mexican painter who intervenes in current trends!


“I don’t give a sh*t what the world thinks. I was born a bitch, I was born a painter, I was born fuc*ed. But I was happy in my way.“


Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón was born in the suburbs of Mexico City on July 6, 1907, to the Mexican photographer Guillermo Kahlo and his wife Matilda as the third child in a row. While her father came from a family with German roots, her mother was a native of America. Frida thus felt a mediator between European and Mexican culture, which influenced her later work.



“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”

Unfortunate fate struck her at an early age – At the age of 6, she suffered polio, which resulted in a lifelong limping and the different sizes of her legs, which Frida covered under her long skirts. When she was 18, she suffered serious injuries in a bus accident at the sanatorium, where she was commuting to rehabilitate with the consequences of polio. She underwent several surgeries, but unfortunately she suffered unbearable pain for the rest of her life.

Until this accident, however, Frida’s life developed well – she devoted herself to sports and the study of medicine. At that time, she was one of 35 girls accepted to study at the prestigious Preparatory (2000 boys studied there!). But already at school she stood out from the crowd – she founded the secret group Kachuchas and her behavior was often described – in the context of her time –  as outrageous. In the Preparatory, she also met her future husband – the famous painter Diego Rivera, who worked here in 1921-23 on the painting “Creation”.



“Feet, what do I need them for If I have wings to fly.”

But then in 1925 there was a fatal accident in which Frida suffered a triple fracture of the spine, a fracture of the collarbone, ribs, pelvis, eleven fractures in the right leg, a dislocated shoulder, and moreover her stomach and uterus were pierced with an iron railing. The consequences of this accident accompanied her to the end of her life. She could never have children because of these injuries, which was her great wish. After the accident, she underwent several surgeries and spent more than a year in a hospital bed. It was at this time that she asked her father to bring paints and brushes to the hospital. They adjusted her bed so that she could lie on her side and attached a mirror to her bed so she could see herself. At that time Frida began to paint self-portraits that were typical of her. She painted a total of 55 during her life.


Frida Kahlo’s work is often considered naive or surreal, but the painter herself considered herself more of a realist. “I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality,” she said. Because her own reality for a long time was herself and her inner world, she mainly painted herself. “I paint myself because I spend a lot of time with myself, and my face is the motif I know best.” Her other favorite motifs included flowers that she painted “so they never die.”




There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the train the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”

After she left  the hospital, Frida returned to  the school for a while. She brought her paintings to the painter Diego Rivera, who was impressed by her self-portraits. But he didn’t like her other works so much, so he advised her to continue painting in her way and not be influenced by anyone. They became friends with Rivera and later they got married. Thanks to their marriage, Frida joined the Communist Party and embarked on a career as a women’s rights activist. With Rivera, she even moved to the USA for a while, where she began to realize the great national differences and began to cling to her Mexican roots and paint paintings inspired by local folk art. She started collecting antiques and wore national costumes daily. In 1939, she even exhibited a painting in the Louvre in Paris at an exhibition inspired by Mexico, where she became a sensation. In the 1940s, she already had her own exhibitions, mainly at home.


As for her relationship with Rivera, they were a legendary bohemian couple. Both were painters – he was initially the more famous one (but he was 20 years older), both enthusiastic communists. In 1939, they even hosted a Russian communist representative, Trotsky, with whom Frida had an affair. In short, Frida was a very free-spirited woman who did what she wanted to do –  she smoked, drank, she was  openly bisexual, and was known for her spicy language and for liking to sing obscene songs to her guests. Despite great physical and mental suffering, she was able to enjoy life to the fullest and in her own way, thus influencing future female generations.




“I hope the exit is joyful and i hope never to return.”

Frida Kahlo died in 1954 at the age of 47 as a result of pneumonia, but it is said that the real reason for her death may have been a drug overdose. Alcohol and drugs were definitely no strangers to her. “I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrow, but now those damn things have learned to swim.” But no one ever investigated the real cause of her death. Although Kahlo expressed in her diary a wish that she never wanted to return to this world, she never actually disappeared from it. Her life story is so fascinating that many things have been created to commemorate her. For example, in 2002, she was portrayed in the film Frida by Mexican actress Salma Hayek. In our e-shop, you can buy home decorations and accessories with this incredibly strong woman who celebrated life. Viva la vida – that was the name of her last painting. And we say – Viva la Frida! May your courage to live your own way inspire us all!





Frida Kahlo´s quotes 



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