FRIDA KAHLO German/Mexican 1907-1957
Frida Kahlo was an unlikely person to become such a global icon with cult like status. Behind the Pop Culture images of this very complex artist was a person that became an artist by tragic circumstances.
Born near Mexico City to a German father and a Spanish/ Mexican mother, she was interested in both strands of her roots, and her mixed European and Mexican heritage provided life-long fascination in her approach towards both life and art. As a young student she focused on natural science with the aim of becoming a doctor. She was a voracious reader, and became deeply immersed and seriously committed to Mexican culture, political activism and social justice. Her aspirations were cut short and her life was defined by physical limitations. She had polio as a child and as a teenager, Kahlo and a friend were on a bus that collided with a streetcar. She suffered nearly fatal injuries. She spent months recovering in the hospital and at home, confined to bed in a cast. The accident ended her dream of becoming a doctor and caused her pain and illness for the rest of her life. During her recovery, she combined her interest in medical illustration and botany and began to paint utilizing a custom made easel with a mirror placed above her bed. She painted over 200 self-portraits depicting her life and quest for identity in those pictorial diaries.
The Tate Modern considers Kahlo "one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century", as well as one of Mexico's most important twentieth-century figures. Her life was complex and very interesting on a personal and political level. I seriously edited my presentation for the children, concentrating on the importance of art to help to rise above difficult situations and as Graham noted “ perseverance” . If you are interested in Frida Kahlo, take a look at the following link. It is a good read.