It’s not always easy for artists to convey their truth. Sometimes it takes a tragedy, a random series of events or a shocking realisation to shove them into the realm of “candid” creativity. Such was the case for Frida Kahlo. As one of the most influential female artists to ever exist, KAZoART believes it important to examine the painful elements that altered the course of her life. These misfortunes then drove her to the creative edge as she changed the world of art forever.

Frida Kahlo’s Accident

Even Frida Kahlo’s prosthetic leg was a work of art. Image courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum

We all know the colourful world of this gender fluid Mexican artist, especially her self portraits. Her proclivity for self-illustration is linked to a traumatic event that almost cost the artist her life. But in return, it had a decisive influence on her art and her personhood. At the age of 19, she was in a bus accident in Mexico City and suffered multiple fractures on her right leg and foot. Fate was relentless on this particular part of her body. Her right leg had previously been weakened during her childhood due to Polio that had been treated but not wholly healed.

Frida Kahlo’s Art

On top of suffering injuries to her leg, her spine, ribs and pelvis were also affected. An iron bar went through her stomach and later resulted in her being unable to conceive a child. This is a recurrent and painful theme in her work.

Immobilised and made to lay on her back for many months, her recovery was lengthy. It was then that she decided to devote herself to painting. Many of her completed works were indeed self portraits thanks to an ingeniously-positioned mirror that allowed the artist to be her own model.

Frida Kahlo Painting In Bed. Photographed By Juan Guzman, Mexico City, 1952.

Her self-portraits were never made out of vanity but rather strove to make firm statements. Whether it was political or personal, her art was never lacking meaning. Matriarchal, female-centered and more poignant now than ever, a knowledge of Frida Kahlo’s painful story makes her art all the more vulnerable and therefore, powerful.

Frida Kahlo, autoportrait au collier d'épines et au colibri, 1940
Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. Oil painting, 1940.
Frida Khalo, Les deux Frida
Frida Kahlo, The Two Fridas, 1939

Frida Kahlo-inspired art on KAZoART

KAZoART artists pay tribute to this famous artist using various techniques and mediums.