A little on Frida [Woman I will always admire]/ In Culture, Politics, and Identity:

In the Paintings of  Frida Kahlo, Janice Helland gives credit to Frida Kahlo not only for the significance of her self portraits as a reflection of her personal life and emotions but also as they relate to Mexican politics and culture. The author relates several paintings in which Frida Kahlo has utilized Mexican indigenista iconography to relate both a personal and political output in her paintings. Many of Kahlo’s pieces incorporate Coatlicue motifs that symbolize life, death, pain, and Aztec cultural roots. All throughout, Helland points out that although many of Kahlo’s pieces have been analyzed for her social affairs or her personal health, they are still relevant to Kahlo’s passion for Mexican nationalism and political views. Helland’s point of view rests on the idea that Kahlo may have been most popular for the emotional reverberations that told the story of her health, love life, and pain, but these themes should not be the reason to disregard Kahlo’s feminist popularity as well as the love she had for her country and an idealized Aztec Mexico.  I definitely agreed with the entire reading because I felt that Diego Rivera has overshadowed how powerful Frida Kahlo’s paintings really stand in the social, cultural and political grounds of Mexico. I think the paintings that Helland chose to dicuss such as My Dress Hangs There link more obviously the argument that Frida’s work was not only an autobiography dealing with identity but definitely a “people” oriented biography dealing with Mexican identities at a time when there was conflict with U.S. involvement. Even when Helland points out Frida’s self portraits, there is still an emphasis on the motifs used that hark back to Aztec culture.  The conclusion is therefore concise and well iterated. Frida Kahlo’s identities are involved culturally, politically, and personally in a way that intertwine with her life, her pain, and her political thoughts and involvement; none of those identities should be the cause to overlook just how much Frida Kahlo really portrayed the love she had for her country.



About Silvia Gonzalez

Photographer Teaching Artist
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