One of the world's most prestigious Museums, the VA in London, is staging it's most popular event ever; "Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up". Having been sold out months in advance, extended and sold-out again, the exhibition displays personal items and clothing belonging to Frida never seen since her death 50 years ago in Mexico.
Born in 1907, little Frida was stricken with Polio resulting in months of confinement and introspection...laying the foundation of her future thoughtful character. Her illness also created a strong bond with her Father with whom she felt a deep connection and who encouraged her to be active physically and academically...unusual for a time when women were still expected to be demure. Frida embraced her Father's encouragement, being expelled from school for disobedience and ultimately entering an elite school in preparation for a future in medicine.
At 18 years old, an horrific bus crash that killed some passengers resulted in dreadful injuries to Frida's legs, back, ribs and collarbone and a return to confinement in bed for months of recovery. Although she did walk again, the accident cursed Frida with a lifetime of pain, disability and eventually, an early death. Frida's introspective and artistic side developed and when she returned to her friends at university her art was the entre' to her relationship with the famous muralist Diego Rivera...the two were married within the year and became a celebrity couple in Mexican society.
Frida's life unfolded through episodes of tumult with her husband, artistic development, romantic liaisons, political activism, overseas travel and media acclaim. Frida became a confident, self-assured, and expressive woman admired around the world and who outshone her husband by the time of her death in 1954.
Frida Kahlo is the emblem for the current zeitgeist; an activist for indigenous rights, a feminist, an artist, a media celebrity, anti-colonial, sexually fluid, and independent...she embodies the issues of our time in a stunningly self-styled package. Frida is shorthand for what women are thinking about today and what women aspire to both politically and personally...respect, equality, personal expression and freedom.