Mexico City Celebrates 100 Years of Frida Kahlo

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frida_kahloThey came from far away to Mexico City’s Museum of the Fine Arts Palace which is exhibiting the biggest collection of Frida Kahlo’s works, 100 years after her birth.  The exhibit features her most famous paintings which include “The Two Fridas” and “The Broken Column”, as well as numerous of other self portraits that depict her physical and psychological pain that stems from a traffic accident when the bus she was riding on collided with a trolley when she was 18 years old.
The exhibit – which goes on through August – also features
some of her early works done in her teens before the accident and various commissioned portraits that were borrowed, letters, and still-life paintings of tropical fruits that are rarely seen.  Walking through the halls that housed this exhibit one might think that she really loved herself because of all the different variations of Frida’s self portraits, but as one reads the story behind many of the more obscure works, you realize the loneliness she experienced when she used herself as her main subject in the times she was in bed due to illness.
Inside the Fine Arts Palace people from all over the world learned more about the Mexican artist’s life and relationships through her art.  As a baby, she was breast-fed by an indigenous woman who worked for her family, which Frida has depicted in “My Nanny and I” that appeared at the exhibit.  After her accident Frida was bedridden for months and it was then that she began to paint the numerous self portraits, since she was stuck with her self.  Frida married the famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera – who was 20 years older than her – then divorced him due to his constant cheating but then remarried him again later.  He appears in some of her woks and in her painting “Embrace of the Universe” she holds the naked, adult-sized Diego Rivera in her arms as if she was holding a baby.  Frida was also known to be unfaithful to Diego and had an affair with Russian Marxist Leon Trotsky.  She was also openly bisexual in an even more intolerant country and time.  She was never able to bear children because during her accident she damaged her uterus.  She died of pulmonary embolism on July 14, 1954.
Frida’s work grew in popularity when her life was depicted in the 2002 movie “Frida” which was produced by and starred the Mexican actress Salma Hayek.  Many who attend the exhibit will be able to witness this remarkable collection and even take some books, shirts, and other souvenirs home.  To some critics this commercialization is something Frida, who was a communist sympathizer, would have probably been opposed to.

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