Frida Fanatic

“I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to better.”― Frida Kahlo

Over the past couple of months, I have been having an increased obsession with Frida Kahlo.  The Frida exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum has fueled a surplus in her images being sold throughout London via clothing, pillowcases, books, and other paraphernalia.  Since the spring, I have purchased two Frida shirts, two books, and a box set of posters. What is it about Frida that is so fascinating?

Making Her Self Up is the title of the exhibit.  We know and love Frida for how she embraced her looks… the eyebrows, moustache, dark hair, culture.  Her art work which usually contained images of herself is recognizable, and I feel she is one of the few women in the art world who was known as an icon.  This was not just for her paintings, but how she presented herself.  Digging a little deeper below the surface, she encompassed so much more.

Frida struggled with physical ailments such as a polio diagnosis in her youth, a horrendous traffic accident that kept her bed ridden for one year, numerous miscarriages, and eventually she had her foot amputated.  Despite the struggles she physically faced in her life, she prevailed.  In fact, her interest in art and creating self-portraits may have been ignited during that year of being bed ridden.  Her mother did not want her to be alone, therefore she propped a mirror above her bed so she could always be aware of the company she had within herself.

Kahlo embraced all parts of her, the wounded and the blessed.  The images in her artwork contains flashbacks to the tragedies that ensued in her life.  The numerous affairs her husband had (which included sleeping with her sister), did not dissipate her sexuality.  She had her share of affairs as well.  But the love of Diego Rivera, her husband, stayed in her mind and thoughts. Initially as a wife to renowned muralist and artist Diego, she accompanied him to his work sites around the world.

Frida brought attention to the fashion her culture offered.  The beautiful traditional clothing of the Mexican world was displayed throughout each city she graced.  She wore long petticoats initially to hide her leg that was impacted by polio, but when she eventually ended up having her leg amputated, even her prosthetics were fashionable.  The medical corsets were beautified.  Frida would dress up at home, even if there were no visitors. She would adorn her body with necklaces, earrings, and flowers in her hair not for anyone else’s enjoyment but herself.

Eventually her art work began getting recognized in addition to the roles of being Diego’s wife and a fashion icon.  The Surrealists wanted to claim her as their own, but she verbalized she wasn’t a surrealist.  “I never painted dreams.  I painted my own reality.”

The reason Frida’s image is embraced by women throughout the world is not solely for her physical beauty.  It is for what she represents: confidence, resilience, courage, and strength.  Frida did not have an alter ego.  She was her alter ego.  It is no surprise the exhibit at Victoria & Albert Museum is a sold out hit.  This is why her image is on numerous purses, tee shirts, pins, and socks.  We admire her fury to be authentic, and live the totality of human existence.  Frida lived it loudly for the world to see and we shout back generations later “yes!”

Although the exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum is sold out, you can gain entry by becoming a member.  In addition, the exhibit has also been extended, please check the website for additional dates.  The collection contains photographs, jewelry, artwork, belongings, medical corsets and clothing that were hidden for 50 years.  This is the first time they are on display outside of Mexico City.  If you are Frida fanatic like I am, this is a must.

“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” – Frida Kahlo

 “You deserve the best, the very best, because you are one of the few people in this lousy world who are honest to themselves, and that is the only thing that really counts.” – Frida Kahlo

https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/frida-kahlo-making-her-self-up?gclid=Cj0KCQjw3ebdBRC1ARIsAD8U0V6ETW9bNYs-7jAY3NO9P-jp8W3f31WIjuoU-jKeyXkteVf73_bcZi8aAgbyEALw_wcB

Reminisce

I like digital cameras, because they enable you to reminisce immediately.-Demetri Martin

I walked around my old neighbourhood in Cambridge, which I have not visited in two years. And it initially made me quite sad.  I had lived here for three years and had so many amazing memories with a variety of friends.  All of them have since relocated to distant locations. This is what happens when you live in a transient town. I am at a crossroads to move back here to minimise my current commute. But do I dare create new memories in a place that is the storehouse of old ones?

How can locations become our hometowns even if we didn’t grow up in them? 

In Cambridge, I stepped into antique shops searching for a gramophone particularly.  I was hoping that finding it would be a sign on where to lead me next on my path. But as I explored the little nooks of these stores, holding old junk repackaged as treasures, I felt as if I was stepping back in time. 

Am I trying to recreate the past?  All these people and memories cannot be replaced, but in moving back to an old town am I simply regressing ?  All have since moved on , shouldn’t I?

Do people linger in these nostalgia stores, hoping to purchase a memory?  Perhaps we believe if we can own it, the moment will always be in our grasp.  But the fact that the only constant is change.  Those moments may not be recreated, but those people luckily are still alive sprinkled throughout this earth. Connections can be made via phone calls, visits, emails, and letters

Sentimentality can serve as a reminder of the values and people we hold dear. It’s a voice that silently nudges us to recall that life isn’t solely about work and achievement, but the friends and family that surround and serve in the ongoing backdrop of our world.

“Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends. “-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.