Frida Kahlo is an inspiration to so many and she has been having more than a moment in popularity just lately. Wherever you look right now her unique and distinctive monobrow seems to be displayed on anything from shopping bags to aprons and magnets to mugs in some of the trendiest gift shops in my home town, Bristol.
But her ubiquitous image appearing on all kinds of gift items is not the reason that I felt compelled to tackle her beauty albeit these may have had some responsibility in raising my awareness.
I noticed on my Instagram feed that people were using quotes by Frida to inspire and this led me to want to get to know more about her. She has, I learned, become something of a feminist icon and it is this primarily that peeked my interest.
Her tenacious approach to a life marred by physical disability and disappointment is famously and beautifully reflected in the wonderful paintings she made where she pours emotion and her own life story through self portraiture and symbolism.
Frida said, “I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.” To follow Frida’s paintings chronologically throughout is to follow her life. She lost herself in the very act of painting and found herself reflected back onto the canvas. Despite being unable to move for much of her life she found freedom through her art. She famously said, “Feet , what do I need them for when I have wings to fly.”
This sense of how painting can give wings to fly to an imaginary freedom resonates with me entirely. Painting, I find, is an escape route into another place, another universe where when lost in the act, time stands still and reality is for the moment suspended in a creative dream.
My Frida is relaxed with her eyes closed and surrounded with a meadow of imaginary flowers symbolising her beauty and reflecting her enigmatic passionate energy. She also once said, “I paint flowers so they will not die” so I wanted my Frida to be almost floating or bathing in flowers.The bath of flowers is also an important analogy in respect of her famous painting,’What the water gave me’.
Her palm tree earrings are where I have chosen to connect us both. Palm trees are my symbol reflecting my love of travel, natural beauty and by their swaying loveliness growing best in warmer climates a sense of eternal optimism and hope.