Frida Kahlo; Patronage of poetry and pain

                                              I often wonder what Frida would have thought of the immense love and cult like status frida braidingher art and life have gained since her premature death in 1954. We all, those of us who feel a kindred connection to her art, her struggles, her pain, seem to place her in such esteem that one wonder whether Kahlo would have approved.

This weekend saw the birthday of Frida celebrated worldwide; a day to honour and respect an artist whose life is a lesson in dignity, struggle, survival and love.

Dignity, because Kahlo remained proud in the face of illness, injury and heartbreak.

Struggle, because she helps us understand that no one is immune.

Survival, because when you should have been dead times over, the only thing left to do is live.

Love, even when it hurts…

Her journals showed a woman stripped bare, if that was even necessary to reveal the inner turmoil of a woman who painted with her own pain dipped in oils. Her poetry could fill a book in themselves. Her words all the colours of her art;

“No moon, sun, diamond, hands —
fingertip, dot, ray, gauze, sea.
pine green, pink glass, eye,
mine, eraser, mud, mother, I am coming.”



Page from Frida’s diary

Still, her legacy continues in the art created from her life and work. I remember being a young girl, studying art, and Frida was at times my own muse. I scribbled tributes to her art, her life and her sexuality. Perhaps I’ll be brave enough to dig them out. Frida would have.

In 2010, poet Pascale Petit released a book title “What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo”. Following a great artistic tradition of homage, one review described it so:

What the Water Gave Me may be an abattoir at times, but it is one permeated by sunlight…

Helen Mort, Poetry London                


Finally, this from The Diary of Frida Kahlo- An Intimate Portrait. I can almost see her walking though the doorway now…

Frida Kahlo was more like a broken Cleopatra, hiding her tortured body, her shriveled leg, her  broken foot, her orthopedic corsets, under the spectacular finery of the peasant women of Mexico,who for centuries jealously kept the ancient jewels hidden away, protected from poverty, to bedisplayed only at the great fiestas of the agrarian communities. The laces, the ribbons, the skirts,the rustling petticoats, the braids, the moonlike headdresses opening up her face like the wings of a dark butterfly: Frida Kahlo, showing us all that suffering could not wither, nor sickness stale,her infinite variety.           


How has Frida Kahlo inspired you? Has it been directly via her art, or her life itself?

Belinda Raposo Knight

Copyright Creative Couples Project 2013

1 Frida Kahlo excerpt from The Diary of Frida Kahlo- An Intimate Portrait, Introduction by Carlos Fuentes
2 Pascale Petit’s Blog Accessed 7/7/2013
3 Carlos Fuentes, excerpt from The Diary of Frida Kahlo- An Intimate Portrait

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