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Latina Icon Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who is best known for her surrealist self-portraits, depicting her intense emotional and physical pain.  Frida was not a stranger wither to pain or to physical disfigurement.  She contracted polio at the age of six, which left her right leg thinner than her left, a fact which she disguised by wearing long skirts.

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When she was a student at the Preparatoria in 1922, Frida was in a terrible bus accident.  A trolley collided with the bus that Kahlo was riding in and she suffered sever injuries, including a broken spinal column, broken collarbone, broken ribs, broken pelvis, and her right leg was fractured in eleven different places.  Her right foot was also crushed and dislocated, as was her shoulder.  The bus’ iron handrail also pierced her abdomen and uterus, leaving her barren for the rest of her life.

She approached Diego Rivera, a renowned Mexican muralist, for advice on her paintings. Diego did more than just gave Frida advice;  the couple found themselves enamored and were soon married.  However, Kahlo and Rivera had a tumultuous relationship, as both of them had hot tempers and extramarital affairs.

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Kahlo died one week after her 47th birthday. The official cause of death was a pulmonary embolism, although an autopsy was not performed, and some suspected it was a suicidal drug overdose.  At first Frida was remembered only as Diego Rivera’s wife, but she has since then had a surge in popularity with the artistic movement of Neo-Mexicanismo.  Her legacy now includes exhibitions of her works, a number of books and feature films, plus her paintings have been placed on Mexican Currency and United States postage stamps as well.

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While Frida Kahlo’s live was full of pain, she was able to transform what she felt throughout her life into some of the most beautiful and unique paintings that the world has ever seen and has inspired many women and even men around the world with her works and words as well.  

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Below are some raw, beautiful and inspiring quotes by Frida Kahlo that I wanted to share:

  • I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.
  • Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?
  • I paint flowers so they will not die.
  • I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.
  • I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.
  • They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.
  • I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrows, but now the damned things have learned to swim.
  • I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.
  • I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.
  • At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.
  • Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.
  • Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.
  • They are so damn “intellectual” and rotten that I can’t stand them anymore….I would rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas, than have anything to do with those “artistic” bitches of Paris.
  • The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.
  • I must fight with all my strength so that the little positive things that my health allows me to do might be pointed toward helping the revolution. The only real reason for living.
  • I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.
  • Really, I do not know whether my paintings are surrealist or not, but I do know that they are the frankest expression of myself.
  • The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become ‘somebody,’ and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody.
  • 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.
  • I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.
  • My painting carries with it the message of pain.
  • Painting completed my life.
  • People in general are scared to death of the war and all the exhibitions have been a failure, because the rich don’t want to buy anything.
  • Diego was everything; my child, my lover, my universe.
  • I cannot speak of Diego as my husband because that term, when applied to him, is an absurdity. He never has been, nor will he ever be, anybody’s husband.
  • Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.
  • I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of “madness”. Then: I’d arrange flowers, all day long, I’d paint; pain, love and tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say: “Poor thing, she’s crazy!” (Above all I would laugh at my own stupidity.) I would build my world which while I lived, would be in agreement with all the worlds. The day, or the hour, or the minute that I lived would be mine and everyone else’s – my madness would not be an escape from “reality”.
  • Pain, pleasure and death are no more than a process for existence. The revolutionary struggle in this process is a doorway open to intelligence.
  • No moon, sun, diamond, hands —fingertip, dot, ray, gauze, sea. pine green, pink glass, eye, mine, eraser, mud, mother, I am coming.
  • I want to be inside your darkest everything.

 

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH LATINA ICON: FRIDA KAHLO

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