By: Tanya Soto
“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”-Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
A broken collarbone, a broken spinal column, broken ribs and perhaps a broken soul, Frida Kahlo painted what she felt; whether it was the pain in her body, or the happiness that her husband Diego Rivera delivered.
Frida Kahlo was a simple girl in a small town called Coyoacán. She would attend school just like any other teenager. Although, on her way back from school, she boarded a bus and the trip ended with her at the hospital. After that day, she was encountered with multiple surgeries and a full body cast. Her body was no longer hers to claim due to the endless surgeries and agony.
Isolated by her family, she would spend her days lying in bed. She felt lonely and turned her attention to painting self-portraits. Soon Frida was drawn into a depression that led to some of her greatest pieces of work.
Three months passed with Frida in a full body cast. She recovered, but the pain would come and go. Now that she was able to walk, she met famous mural painter and communist Diego Rivera. Frida joined him in politics and even though their works of art were completely different they admired each other’s work. What was once business soon turned into love. They soon decided to get married despite his unfaithfulness in his past marriages.
Throughout the marriage they continued to paint and stay in politics. Diego, being the talented and known muralist, would get jobs in a variety of places. Frida would follow Diego wherever his talent took him. Although as time passed, Diego’s trips soon became more constant and shortly they were both unfaithful to their relationship. The loneliness that Frida once felt came back haunting her once again. With a marriage that was in the spotlight, the artistic couple soon became unstable. They divorced, but in time remarried. Although, the marriage wasn’t the same; Frida soon drowned her sorrows in alcohol.
Now an alcoholic, in endless pain due to her surgeries, unable to bear children and engulfed in depression, Frida used her talent of painting portraits to relieve her pain. Her self-portrait mirrored her feelings. She turned something so dark, like her depression, into masterpieces. She is now known as an extravagant painter and a feminist icon.