As the second year winds down, we are revisiting several favorite artists from last year. All worthy of more time than we had to spend on them. It is a chance to see how the art has progressed for the 2nd year students , (I posted images side by side in the gallery) and for the newer half of the class, an oppotunity to experience these important artists.
Our first choice was Frida Kahlo. Beyond the mythology and the Pop Culture images, was a person who became an artist by tragic circumstances. Born near Mexico City to a German father and a Spanish/ Mexican mother, she was interested in her mixed European and Mexican heritage which 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 and 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 recuperating from over 30 surgeries. She painted over 200 self-portraits depicting her life and quest for identity . She was the first to take the truth of her traumatic experiences and internal life and put meaning into them through her vulnerable paintings as pictorial diaries. This solidified her place in history. She has been aligned with the Surrealist movement which she denied, replying "this is simply my reality".
She is considered as "one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century" . Her life was complex and very interesting on a personal and political level. I edited my presentation for the children, concentrating on the importance of art to help rise above difficult situations. We mainly discussed her great example of perseverance. If you are interested in Frida Kahlo, take a look at the following link. It is a good read.
There is a reason I call them "Art Stars" ! Due to the holiday the many of them were in class for just one day.