“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh
and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is
the most ridiculous thing.” -Frida Kahlo
San Francisco is celebrating the life and legacy of Frida this weekend, her anniversary. Teatro Frida just showed a 1966 documentary of her time with friends here in the Bay Area, circa 1930’s, plus the first 1980’s Mexican film of her life.
Born on July 6th, 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico, Frida’s life was rich with experience, art, and historic relevance- all overlapping a tumultuous time in Mexico when the struggle for social change and justice gained momentum. (Sources: wikepedia, and Frida official website- Mexico)
The Mexican Revolution began when Frida was three years old in 1910. Frida, with her rebellious soul, always preferred to give her year of her birth as 1910 in order for all to associate her directly with the revolution.
Frida was blessed with a good home, committed parents, and an artistic father who was a great photographer. Challenges began for Frida in her early childhood, with a severe case of polio.
“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.”
Frida and Diego were married on August 21, 1929 and this “marked the beginning of one of the most well known and extravagant love stories known to humankind. The loving couple soon became iconic throughout the world. At first, Frida accompanied Diego throughout the United States as he was commissioned to paint frescos in cities such as San Francisco, Detroit and New York. Little by little, Frida started to establish her own prestige and fame and soon became world-renowned for her own work, personality, and authenticity.”
Frida broke artistic molds, shunned traditions, and demonstrated her unique expression through hard work as she developed her own style. In 1938, Frida met Andre Breton. He described her artwork as “surrealism of the highest level.” Frida responded by saying:
“I do not paint dreams…. I paint my reality…”
Andre Breton introduced Frida to Julian Levy, who helped her set up an exhibition in New York City in 1939, and subsequently in France. Frida became the first Mexican artist to exhibit her own work at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Though Frida’s life-long experience of pain was undeniable, the principal elements of Frida’s artistic life are considered to be love, joy, passion and creativity. Frida showed great perseverance for achieving her dreams and also showed her happiness, love and passion for life despite all the adversities she overcame. Frida was able to redefine her life through her art and she fulfilled one more dream when she had her first exhibition in Mexico City in 1953.
“Frida lived life to its fullest in the most passionate of ways. Her iconic existence, unique expression and extraordinary artwork have provided humanity with continuing optimism, strength and courage for the future. She died on July 13, 1954, and left behind a legacy that will forever impact and influence the world regardless of age, gender, nationality, and ethnicity”:
“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”
― Frida Kahlo
Here is awesome footage of Frida and Diego at home. (SFMoma)