Frida Kahlo turns 110 Art

Her own muse and ours

Known best for her surrealist approach to art, Frida Kahlo (1907- 1954) was more than a painter; she’s inspired millions of men and women in and out of the art realm to retain a true sense of self. Very little held the firecracker back from her pursuit of artistic success and passion, and on her birthday, July 6, we herald that very spirit.

Boldness in beauty

In a time of plucking, waxing and threading, Frida’s brows and faint mustache have been an expression of uninhibited beauty. With the widespread appreciation for fuller brows, mono or otherwise. It’s safe to say, it’s not called the ‘supermodel brow’ but the ‘Frida brow.’ The strong linkages between South Asian and Hispanic beauty ideals continue to thrive.

Frida’s well-known crown braid has also taken over Instagram as of late. With the plaits scene huge right now, the powerful connotations that come with Frida’s style have made their way onto our heads and into our hearts ever since Salma Hayek rocked one in her portrayal of Frida in the 2002 movie.

Grace through and through

When Frida was six years-old, she contracted polio which left her with a severely stunted right leg. She disguised this with her famous floral skirts which teemed with Mexican heritage. Later in life, Frida had the same leg amputated after it developed gangrene. Immediately adapting to a — naturally decorated— prosthetic limb, Frida carried on with a perseverance that inspires multitudes of people to bounce back from life-changing accidents.

Her own muse and ours

As if she hadn’t faced enough adversity, she was in a horrific accident at 18, which left her bed-ridden for months. But this did not stop her from using what she could of herself to create memorable artworks. She had herself surrounded by mirrors and even said, “I paint myself because I am often alone, and I am the subject I know best.” Just a perusal of her works will reveal the remarkable changes in her introspection, making her growth as an artist all the more human and relatable.

Brushstroke heritage

A swathe of Indian artists have been profoundly touched by Frida’s artistic takes on magical realism. Hungarian-Indian Amrita Sher-Gil — often dubbed the Indian Frida Kahlo — celebrates the female entity through profound pieces such as Bride’s Toilet, Three Girls and Self-Portrait as Tahitian. Influenced by Mughal Pari styles, her work retains shades of Europe, showcasing her diverse background. The parallels one can draw between the two art pioneers are remarkable.

Style savant

Her own muse and ours

It’s not just Frida’s physical beauty that enraptured millions to date, but her dominating grace too. Sabyasachi Mukherjee has created multiple tributes to the artist, featuring Neha Dhupia, Rani Mukherjee, Lisa Haydon and Konkana Sen Sharma all dressed up as Frida. Vibrant colours and luscious textiles true to the Sabyasachi aesthetic were integral in this lifelike recreations, which dazzled viewers across the country.

In fact, Frida, being a conoisseur of fashion, has also donned a saree on occasion, and looked every inch sanskaari. Author Nayantara Sahgal was photographed with her sister and Frida, all three women wearing sarees. In 1947, Sahgal had travelled to Mexico and was hosted by Frida, resulting in the now viral photograph.

Liberation of the lady

It goes without saying just how truly eminent Frida was as a feminist. Her work wasn’t the only thing that was confronting; her approach to sexual orientation and politics spoke volumes. Her trysts with French dancer Josephine Baker and Leon Trotsky, whom she helped escape Joseph Stalin’s regime during the Russian Revolution in the 1930s, conveyed her forward-thinking and confidence.


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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 2:42:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/frida-kahlo-110th-birthday-2017-legacy-india/article19215289.ece

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