What does Frida ask of us?

Posted on March 31, 2018

A recent communication brought thoughts of Frida back into my world.

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Why do we love her? Is it just her iconic style? I think not, Frida speaks to people at a deeper level and her fans are not so shallow.

I love Frida for many reasons. She shows us how we can rise from any tragedy that hits us. She suffered physically with her health but also in her relationship with a man she adored. But note that when her husband went astray- so did she!

I love her for independence of spirit that speaks not just to women but any individual that wants to assert their own independent identity outside gender stereotyping.

Recently I realised that maybe more than all of this, Frida showed us how to be vulnerable before it became fashionable. She lays open her life to us in her paintings: she confronts her own death, graphically illustrates what it’s like to loose a child, paints herself at times of personal crisis.

How honest have other painters been in their work? Below ‘Henry Ford Hospital’ Frida Kahlo 1932

On a personal level I love Frida the artist. She spoke to me and called me to pick up the paintbrush again and follow my dream of having an exhibition of my own one day. The level of pain I saw in her life spoke to my own sense of loss- no one else had shared so openly before for me to relate to. When I paint her she teaches me- challenges me to capture her ever elusive spirit.

But todays question that occurred to me as I look at her staged photographic portraits is what does Frida ask of us? Rather than dress like her- perhaps she is asking. inviting us to ask

‘Who are we?’

How do we present ourselves to the world as she did? She took time to craft her appearance to represent all she stood for- her return to traditional Mexican dress, the colours and patterns she chose to wear, the jewellery…

How about we not wear flowers in our hair as she did. How about we consciously be who we are. If you had to one photograph or painting that was to represent you when you are gone- how would you be?

I have an idea to have my own project where I invite people to truly represent themselves. I shall be in a room with my tripod and camera waiting for anyone who would like to sit or stand for me in all their individuality. That would be my kinda Frida project!

What if she is also asking us to be honest? Like really honest about what goes on for us?

With mental health on the national agenda – this would be a timely call.

Food for thought….

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