Frida Kahlo’s Experience of Discrimination
In America, everyone will experience discrimination in their lifetime, it’s not a matter of when, but why. Discrimination, although diminished from previous decades, still holds strong in our societies present day. Frida Kahlo is famous for her self portraits which depicted her culture and female experience, and the ways they suffered. One of the first photos shown to us in this module was a painting of Frida herself, standing on a broken piece of land. It highlighted clues to many controversial topics in society and gave the viewer a look into the painful struggle the painting depicted. Frida was a Mexican artist that always had pain and passion behind her stories. She lights up her canvases with bold, and vibrant colors to evoke emotion from the viewers, just like the ones she experienced that created her art. I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” (Frida Kahlo). I connect with her and feel her emotions through all of her pieces.
Even though she is long passed at this point, her art between the battles of Mexico and America hold truer than ever now. I can relate to fridas state of speaking her mind and showing the world everything was afraid to talk about. She never hide anything in her paintings, but also hid everything. All that needed to be realized you had to look for, but she knew if you weren’t interested in her art, you weren’t interested in the message either. When she was young, Frida’s career goal did not have painting in the mix, but after suffering her accident when she was eighteen the course of her life shifted into a more expressive live style she could express her emotions through. Besides Frida’s talent that allowed her to created surrealist thoughts and emotions on canvas, she was also an artist in her mind and body. Unlike other artists who paint from a single point of view; Kahlo is able to show multiple perceptions of what she is feeling or trying to express. She focused on the idea that people are not one type of person, but can be multifaceted in their lifetime. Frida struggled with cultural demands of her gender, in a time when women were beginning to demand for a change to happen.
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All these aspects of her life, affected the art she produced. She became known for her powerful voice, and how she showed us them through her art. Her art was controversial and attracted much attention. Frida gained global recognition because its complex and provocative, demanding discussion. Frida takes us into a different experience in each of her paintings, everyone had something different to tell us. She was known for being a feminist icon, it is said that everyone of her expressions in each of her paintings are not molded to fit the societally set standards of what was acceptable, but she followed her mind. When Frida had release her self portrait of her and her husband Diego Rivera, there was a lot of challenge brought ot the surface. At this time period in Mexico, it was considered for women to be perfectly groomed and dressed in pearls, suits, and hats. Frida depicted herself with lots of scarves, and costume like items, dressing like this became an entrenched part of her identity. Since Frida had shown her self in non typical dress for the time people considered her fashion “Gay.”
Although we see in each painting Frida, never cared for other people’s thoughts, but challenged patriarchy in her own way. “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” (Frida Kahlo). The painting Frida released called “Frida and Diego Rivera” It shows her two years after her and Diego had been married. In this painting Frida had been painted in a particular stiff pose, which was considered to be a native tradition. Her husband, Diego is depicted almost enormous compared to her, which gave us a little insight of how it was always more known in the extraordinary maestro. She is shown, holding Diego’s hand with the slightest grasp, making it known that Diego belongs to nobody. Aside from the minute details of the piece which gave us insight to how their marriage was constructed, frida is shown wearing a dress which in her other paintings this is not typical for her. It was always said by Frida that this painting showed everyone her favorite image, the genius’s adorning wife.
In early 1934 Frida brought us a new painting called Roots. She expressed in her art that all lives could coexist. It is depicting the artist relining in an orange dress, with vines growing out of the curves of her body into the ground, widely seen to signify the importance of the concept of fertility in the human life cycle. She was also trying to symbolize the reunion with her husband, Deigo, after a long period of undesirable pain and suffering without him. The painting itself all ties together portraying loneliness and infertility, which a struggle she had been struck with after her accident. Frida shows us her desire to have children, but the inability to, the detailed lifeless stems surrounding her in the painting portray this. “The green miracle of the landscape of my body becomes in you the whole nature. I fly through it to caress the rounded hills with my fingertips, my hands sink into the shadowy valleys in an urge to possess and I’m enveloped in the embrace of gentle branches, green and cool. I penetrate the sex of the whole earth, her heat chars me and my entire body is rubbed by the freshness of the tender leaves.” (Frida Kahlo).
Frida focused on the female experience and the emotions that come with each part of it. She was known for taking quieted topics and bringing them to light in her art, she left the idea of the painting up to viewer interpretation because she always stated her knowledge of her pain being brushed into the strokes of her work, but published without an explanation for each person may grab a different experience from it. Frida was praised and despised for this, she never shied from her feminist ideas and this always made her art, at the time, controversial. Frida, being that she was considered to be a feminist icon, challenged the ideas of gender roles and painted what she knew. Even though for the time she was alive in Mexico, a lot of her art went under appreciated until after her passing, it got a lot of attention in coming years. After Frida released roots in 1934 Frida released Two Fridas in 1939. This depicted two of her sitting side by side, one dressed in the style of the traditional women and one dressed in how she was known for dressing. Being that she was focused on the idea of the female experience the two of her were connected by a piece of the heart, this showing us that even though she was known for challenging the idea of what a women should be, she herself still struggled trying to break down the walls of this idea. The double depiction of her shows us the internal struggle, being that both of their hearts in the painting are fully exposed. Frida battled with a lot of pain and suffering throughout her career and this painting in particular shows the viewers Fridas exposed inner turmoil.