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An illustrated homage to Frida

26 Jul 2006 / in about art, women and feminism

Thanks to the marvellous Carnival of the Feminists I have just come across this most amazing blog called ‘Invoking Frida’, about the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo who’s 99th birthday it would have been on 6 July.

Frida was an inspirational, uncompromising woman who actually achieved fame as an artist in her own short lifetime. Of course, last year we went to Frida’s exhibition at Tate Modern. Her paintings stand alone as uncompromising, technically gifted, visionary, deeply rooted in politics – both personal and international.But, and I’m not trying to take away anything from Frida when I ask, I wonder how well-known she would have been without her already famous artist husband Diego Rivera and the tragedy of her appalling accident and story of her life of physical suffering? We’ll never know.

She has a lot in common with my Great Art Teacher, Vincent van Gogh, who also suffered mentally and physically and ultimately died tragically and too young. And as Frida had Diego, Vincent had his brother Theo, a Parisian art dealer, to promote his work.

Are they lucky? No, of course not. No one actually wants to suffer the tortures Frida and Vincent did. And what’s the point of being well-known if you’re not around to enjoy the fruits of your endeavours? We’re the lucky ones. It’s not just the paintings that appeal. It’s the irony that out of such suffering works of art of profound beauty comes.

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