Feliz Cumpleaños, Kahlo

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Tuesday, July 06, 2010



Today we celebrate the memory of Frida Kahlo on her birthday, July 7th. Kahlo was perhaps one of the most prolific painters of her time. She was a mixed-heritage Mexican girl with a Hungarian and Jewish father, and Mexican Spanish mother. Born in 1907, she lived through the Mexican Revolution, dodging gunfire and riots, only to be shot with polio at age 6. Because of the polio’s effect on Frida, she wanted to study medicine and unlock the mysteries of the body. However, when she was 18 she was hit by a trolley. An iron rail went straight through her uterus; her foot was crushed and dislocated, and her spinal column, collarbone, ribs and pelvis were all broken. Alive, but trapped and crippled, she was given a special easel and some paints to entertain herself during the long and painful convalescence. And so Frida was confined to her bed for years; it was there, in that state of isolation, Frida made two discoveries-- that she had an amazing gift with oil based colors and that she would love Diego Rivera almost 20 years her senior for his ideals in politics and art. Kahlo is most known for depicting herself in various shocking visuals—especially for that time. She has said, “I paint self-portraits because I am the person I know best.

At 22, she wed painter Diego Rivera following a tumultuous ten-year union where both artists carried on numerous affairs. They soon divorced but some say you cannot truly divorce the heart as they ultimately remarried before Kahlo’s death in 1954.

Since her death, Kahlo's celebrity has only grown. In 2001, she became the first Hispanic woman to have her face put on a U.S. postage stamp, and her 1943 work "Roots" set the record for the highest-selling portrait by a Latin-American artist in 2006. She also had a movie based on her life titled "Frida" directed by Julie Taymor (Broadway's "The Lion King"). The film stars Salma Hayek as Kahlo and Alfred Molina as Diego Rivera, and was nominated for six Academy Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Ms. Selma Hayak.

To put the icing on the memory of Frida Kahlo, Google as replaced their icon with one of Kahlo complete with vines interlocking around Google’s embloom.

Happy Birthday, Frida

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