The art of Frida Kahlo is a ribbon around a bomb. — Andre Breton
The Night You Were Born, Frida
By Annette Marie Hyder
Huracan, the storm god, left a quiver of arrows by your cradle. He knew you would want them and he was right, you shot them all your life sometimes even wounding yourself with them.
The parrot-headed one deigned to leave one bright feather by your side. That one feather had all the colors you would ever need but you grew additional feathers of your own reasoning that even a god could not dictate the colors of your art. Besides, he left you only one feather. “Because” he said, “if Frida is given more than one, then will she not be just like us, will she not then also be a god? Let her have this one feather and let her use her feet to get around.” So you grew feathers, “Feet,” you said “why do I need them, if I have wings to fly?”
A deer came and quietly, while no one was looking, nibbled a portion of your green and tender heart. By the time it was discovered, it was too late. But this too was a gift and intended for your art.
The goddess of beauty gave nothing, only subtracted from the presents piling on the mosaiced floor. She was jealous of the beauty of your spirit and so she took one part of your conventional physical beauty away. She planted wild crows on your brow, a hedge to keep the admirers at bay. But you loved their glossy raucousness, claimed them as a part of you and let them have a say.
The sun wore green for you that day and he has not put that color on for anyone but you. Who can say what it means? You have stated “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.”
The moon traced her finger along your face and whispered two secrets into your tiny shell shaped ears. You always wore earrings to celebrate the things she gave to you.
La Lorna came, uninvited, and left her wet footprints on the tile. Those footprints grew in size, the way hers always do, and ended up as two large pools the color of darkness, the color of sorrowful La Lorna’s long black hair. You said “I tried to drown my sorrows but the bastards learned how to swim.”
Because anything that was your own could not help but strive and thrive and carry on, even things like sorrows.
The Jaguar came and loaned you her soft cough but said you would have to give it back some day.
And there was one more thing that was left for you to have. It has not been determined who left this thing for you, a bag that when opened filled the air with a chalky dust. But this was limestone, a necessary ingredient when building stair-stepped pyramids. And you used this gift to make of yourself a pyramid, a symbol soaring toward the stars. Something that, some say, you sacrificed yourself upon. You said “I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.”
And so it is.
Quotes about Frida Kahlo by Diego Rivera
“I recommend her to you, not as a husband but as an enthusiastic
admirer of her work, acid and tender, hard as steel and delicate and
fine as a butterfly’s wing, lovable as a beautiful smile, and as
profound and cruel as the bitterness of life.” –Diego Rivera
“Through her paintings, she breaks all the taboos of the woman’s body and of female sexuality.” –Diego Rivera
Links of interest:
Huffington Post: Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo!
“Today marks the birth of Frida Kahlo,a Mexican artist celebrated for her dedication to indigenous tradition
and female expression. The painter, whose two best accessories were her
unruly brows…” Read the article here.
The Frida Kahlo Foundation
PBS: The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo
All images Public Domain:
Frida Kahlo, The Little Deer, 1946 Frida Kahlo, Black and White photo
Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940
Frida Kahlo, The Love Embrace of the Universe, 1949