Frida kahlo was a famous Mexican surrealist artist whose life was filled with physical and emotional pain, yet her enthusiasm for art kept her alive which can be seen through the quote I am not sick, I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint (Brown, nd). Her work can be described as hard as steel, fine as a butterfly wing, lovable as a smile and cruel as the bitterness of life (Frida,2002).
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All her work was inspired by the nature around her and the exquisite artifacts of Mexico which is apparent in her use of dramatic symbolism and bright use of colors (Li, and Yoneta,2018). One of the most eye catching painting after her terrible bus accident is the self-portrait which was dedicated to Dr Eloesser and was done when she was half paralysed and painted herself from her position in bed, using a mirror and a wooden structure to hold her canvas (Maddie, 2017). The first section of the essay will discuss the social context in which the art work was created in, followed by the political and then the economical context.
Frida Kahlo was seen to be very unique and different from other women in the society, she can be said to be the female feminist icon in the 1940’s. At that time in society women did not have the freedom to put forth their feelings and points of view. Brave, powerful and independent were words far away from what women then could be described as. They were objectified and were observed for beauty and attractiveness to please the men and in terms of visual art this was known as the male gaze (O’toole, 2011). Frieda Kahlo subtlety tries to break this which can be seen in the self-portrait dedicated to Dr. Eloesser- in which her hair and dress is just the way a typical women in Mexico would dress up as, but her face stands out stunningly due to her deliberately exaggerating her mono brow and mustache which creates gender confusion but at the same time her fierce expression expresses a sense of pride, strength and rebellious nature (Prop,2017). This act can be said to be Jacques Lacan’s mirror phase theory as Kahlo looks at the mirror and expresses what she feels towards herself in form of art which is not reality.
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