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If You Claim To Be A Frida Kahlo Fan Then You Better Be Informed About These 20 Paintings By Her

Throughout her life’s work, Frida Kahlo created paintings that depicted her life, culture, Mexicanidad, indigeneity, grief, and suffering. The serious subject matter of her work has long been lauded by art critics and fans of her work alike.

Here’s a look at Kahlo’s 20 most popular portraits.

1. The Two Fridas

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This oil painting which was part of Kahlo’s Naïve art period depicts two versions of Kahlo sitting side by side together. One wears a white European-style Victorian dress while the other is wearing a traditional Tehuana dress. Some suggest that the two figures are a representation of Frida’s dual heritage.

2. The Broken Column

This oil painting made in 1944 was created by Kahlo shortly after she had spinal surgery to correct chronic problems from a serious traffic accident. In this painting, Frida aligns herself with the martyr Saint Sebastian who was discovered to be a Christian and tied to a tree and used as an archery target.

3. The Wounded Deer

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This painting created around the end of Kahlo’s life was made when her health was on a downward spiral. In this oil painting, Kahlo combines pre-Columbian, Buddhist, and Christian symbols to express her influences and beliefs.

4. Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird

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Kahlo created this self-portrait after her divorce from Diego Rivera and the end of her affair with photographer Nickolas Muray. The painting brings into coordination Frida’s identification with indigenous Mexican culture which greatly affected her painting aesthetic. Kahlo’s use of powerful iconography from her indigenous Mexican roots asserts hers sense of rebellion against colonial forces and male rule.

In this photo, the dead hummingbird around her neck represents a good luck charm. The black panther in the background is a symbol of bad luck and death and the monkey is meant to represent evil.

5. Without Hope

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On the back of this painting which was created by Kahlo in 1954, Kahlo wrote  “Not the least hope remains to me…Everything move in time with what the belly contains.” She created this painting after her father prescribed her to be force fed.

6. Diego and I

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In this painting, Frida reveals the anguish she feels about her relationship with Diego Rivera. The portrait reveals her deep pain and hurt over his infidelity and affair with film actress Maria Felix.

7. Self-Portrait with Monkey

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In Mexican mythology, monkeys are a symbol of lust. In this portrait, however, the monkeys are adoring, loving and nurturing. Kahlo’s decision to depict monkeys is consistent with her constant incorporation of them as companions. In life, Frida kept monkeys as well as many other pets in the garden of her Blue House in Mexico.

8. Self-Portrait as a Tehuana

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This painting which was painted in 1940 was made after she and Diego divorced. The painting has two other names “Diego in My Thoughts” and “Thinking of Diego.” This painting reveals Frida’s consumption with  Diego Rivera, who continued to have affairs with other women throughout their relationship.

Even despite his betrayals, she could not stop thinking about him and portrayed this by painting a small portrait of him on her brow which depicts her obsessive love for him.

9. Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair

Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair

Kahlo painted this self-portrait during a particularly difficult time in her life. Frida’s husband Diego Rivera had long told Frida of how much she admired her long, dark hair, which, are depicted in the tresses on the floor of the painting. After they broke up she cut off her hair. In this picture, she shows herself sitting in an oversized suit that resembles the ones that Rivera often wore.

10. What the Water Gave Me

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What the Water Gave Me (Lo que el agua me dio in Spanish) the artist creates her own biography.  As the scholar, Natascha Steed, points out, “her paintings were all very honest and she never portrayed herself as being more or less beautiful than she actually was.”

11. The Suicide of Dorothy Hale

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Dorothy Hale is an American act and Ziegfeld showgirl who died by suicide in 1938. Kahlo was commissioned to create a portrait of the actress by a friend and to their surprise, she created a severe retelling of her ultimate death.

12. Henry Ford Hospital (The Flying Bed)

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Frida depicts herself in this painting lying in a bed in Henry Ford Hospital naked and bleeding. The painting depicts the discomfort Frida felt during her time in the hospital. In the painting, six objects fly around her. There’s a male fetus which is the son of her and Diego that she lost. There is an orchid which looks like a uterus. The snail is the symbol of how slow the miscarriage and operation took.

13. The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Myself, Diego, and Señor Xolotl

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This portrait comes folded with multiple forms of imagery. In this portrait, Frida shows “twofold face of the Universe, the light and dark background of planets and ethereal fog, is holding a murkier Earth (Mexico), whose breasts are lactating. The Earth (Mexico), with all her vegetation, is subsequently holding Frida Kahlo. Continuing further, Frida is then holding a nude Diego Rivera, whose forehead contains a third eye.

This work is rich in symbolism, with multiple layers of meaning. However, the symbols are not unlike many of Kahlo’s other works. Many art critics have contended that The Love Embrace portrays several of Frida’s life struggles, including but not limited to: womanhood, motherhood and Diego Rivera.”

14. My Grandparents, My Parents and Me

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Frida Kahlo depicts her family in this portrait of a family tree. In this piece, she is a naked girl holding onto a red ribbon that represents of her bloodline.

15. A Few Small Nips (Passionately in Love)

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In 1935, a year after not painting, she created A Few Small Nips, in which she portrays the torture she feels over her pain. In the painting, a bare and bloodied Frida lies on a bed in the face of a knife-wielding killer.

16. Viva la Vida, Watermelons

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Eight days before her death, Frida wrote the words “Viva la Vida – Coyoacán 1954 Mexico” into her drawing of the watermelons.

17. The Wounded Table

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Like many of Frida’s paintings this piece reflects strongly on her Mexicanidad, indigeneity, as well as her grief and loss. The painting is depicted much like Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last SupperMural.  Kahlo is seated at the center of the table and figures that were portrayed in her painting The Four Inhabitants of Mexico City also appear.

18. My Dress Hangs There

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Frida started this painting while living in New York and finished it soon after she and Diego moved back to Mexico. On the back of the  painting in chalk she wrote “I painted this in New York when Diego was painting the mural in Rockefeller Center”.

“The painting is filled with the icons of modern industrial society of United States but implied the society is decaying and the fundamental human values are destructed. In contrast to this painting, her husband Diego Rivera was working on a mural in the Rockefeller Center to prove his approval of the industrial progress in America”

19. Self-portrait in a Velvet Dress

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In this self-portrait, Frida wears a wine-red velvet dress. The painting is one of the most flattering portraits of Kahlo and was created during the start of her career as an artist. In letters, she wrote, about the portrait. “You cannot imagine how marvelous it is to wait for you, serenely as in the portrait.”

20. Girl with Death Mask (She Plays Alone)

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In 1938 Frida painted this portrait which depicts  Frida herself at age of four as she wearsa skull mask. This mask is a tradition for “Day of the Dead” wear and where death is celebrated instead of mourned. The little is depicts Frida holding a yellow flower in her hands which Mexicans put on graves at the “Day of the Dead” festival.


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Border Patrol Agents Threw Away Meaningful Items Belonging To Migrants, Now There’s An Art Show Displaying Dozens Of Items

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Border Patrol Agents Threw Away Meaningful Items Belonging To Migrants, Now There’s An Art Show Displaying Dozens Of Items

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Photographer Tom Kiefer worked as a custodian at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Southern Arizona from 2003 to 2014. When migrants and asylum seekers crossed the Southern border officials would throw away their belongings, medications, and nonessentials during processing. Kiefer collected all of those belongs, arranged them systematically, and photographed them.

The photos will be displayed in the exhibition “El Sueño Americano / The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer” at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. 

The result is eye-catching and colorful art that, upon closer inspection, reveals the rich inner lives of migrants. Kiefer’s photographs of the CDs they were listening to, the medications they were on, and even diary entries provide insight into the almost ordinariness of migrants. These were just people carrying things that meant something to them the way anyone else going somewhere would. Then the U.S. government deemed those personal and sentimental items trash. 

What Kiefer provides is a rarely seen snapshot of what migrants cared about when they came to the United States looking for a better shot. 

Kiefer was documenting American history through his lens and labor. 

“It was my way of documenting a piece of our nation’s history,” Kiefer told the Washington Post

In one of his haunting photos, there are 32 CDs lined up. Some CDs are from artists like Trapt but others are mixed CDs with intimate labels like “Brown Pride” or “Super Sappy Songs for Issa 2.” The image reminds the viewer that these migrants were real people — and we don’t know who any of them are and because of the United States’ ever-changing immigration policies, we don’t know if they’re even OK. 

Kiefer began to find the belongings when he asked if he could donate the canned goods that Border Patrol authorities seized to food pantries. He went through the trash bins to look for the nonperishables, but what he found instead was a wealth of humanity. 

“The Bibles, the rosaries, the family photographs. I was shocked,” he said. “And I didn’t know what to do, because it was obviously being condoned.”

Kiefer knew he would get into trouble if he took other items so everything he gathered was by intuition. Altogether in his years working there he collected 100,000 items. 

“I had to do it all very quick, discreet,” he said. “It was just rapid-fire, split-second decisions about what I could keep and what had to go in the trash, stay in the trash.”

Throwing away migrants’ possessions is particularly cruel, Kiefer feels.

 “[It] underscores the cruelty of the tentative punishment that the government feels the need to levy against these people. It’s clear the majority of which are decent, contributing and who want nothing more than a better life for themselves or for their family,” he told the Los Angeles TimesWhen Kiefer first began going through the trash looking for cans, he found mostly toothbrushes. However, when things appeared to be more personal like religious items and diaries, he felt compelled to save them because, he says, “no one would believe me if I had not collected these items.” He purposefully used colorful backgrounds to humanize the items. He didn’t want a cold, white background that would make things look sterile, more like products than personal items. 
“[The photos are] like a knife to the gut, and that’s precisely something that I think gives this work its power — that it draws you in with its beauty and then it has this really profoundly sad backstory,” Laura Mart, Skirball curator, told the Los Angeles Times.

He hopes the legacy of his exhibition is empathy above all else. 

“Dora the Explorer. A personal belonging carried by a migrant or someone seeking asylum. When apprehended by USCBP while crossing the desert most personal belongings considered non-essential or potentially lethal are confiscated and discarded,” Kiefer wrote in a caption of a children’s Dora the Explorer purse. 

Things like children’s toys, backpacks, and clothing items are enough to infuriate and sadden just about anybody.

“Whether it’s an individual object, shoelaces, I present them in a way that I hope the viewer can not just identify, but just kind of be empathetic, or put themselves in the person or persons’ shoes: ‘Wow, a person carried that.’ ‘That’s the same cologne I use, the same toothbrush or toothpaste,” Kiefer said. 

While he was a custodian during the Obama administration, Kiefer says he didn’t witness the abuses of powers reported under the current president. Kiefer personally condemns the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants and hopes his exhibition will change some peoples’ stances. 

“Is this the nation we want to be?” He said. “The way things are now is not sustainable.”

An Artist Set Up An Installation At The US-Mexico Border Allowing People To Communicate Freely

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An Artist Set Up An Installation At The US-Mexico Border Allowing People To Communicate Freely

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The President of the United States is still working on building the great big wall to divide Mexico from the U.S. Even though the wall has yet to be completed (and it looks like it never will actually be totally completed), the issue of the wall itself has already divided so many. The division is not just physical, but emotional, and, of course political. Believe it or not, there has been so much positivity that has also come with our painful division. Not only are people rising up to demand the rights of immigrants, and fighting for asylum seekers, but there’s also incredible art that has been erected in the name of justice

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is a Mexican-Canadian installation artist that has created a way for people to talk to each other on opposite sides of the border.

Lozano-Hemmer has built a massive light installation — both on U.S. land and Mexico land. The project, while complicated, appears to be several spotlights that project to one side of the border and then intersects with the spotlights from the other side. There are, as the website states, “three interactive stations on each side of the border will control powerful searchlight beams using a small dial wheel. When lights from any two stations are directed at each other, microphones and speakers automatically switch-on to allow participants to talk with one another, creating cross-border conversations.”

When one person speaks into the microphone, the person on the other side can hear and talk to them as well. People in El Paso, Texas, were able to communicate with those in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

On opening night, which happened on Nov. 13, a slew of special guests was invited to speak to people on the other side of the border. It wasn’t a natural result either. As the website states, “These conversations have been curated through a series of public meetings over the course of the past year and include a diverse cross-section of participants. Community leaders selected to coordinate various topics have committed to reaching out to their existing networks on both sides of the border for these topic-specific conversations in addition to the spontaneous conversations generated by the general public each night.”

While the light installation was only up for a few days and is now over, the result is one of the most magical things we have ever seen. 

In one clip, we see a woman speaking to a little boy. She asks him his name and how old he is, how he likes school, etc. It’s so hard to believe that the two people speaking are actually miles away from each other, with only a border that separates them. Their voices sound so loud and clear as if they were talking to each other face to face. 

“I’m not creating bridges of communication. Those bridges are already existing,” Lozano-Hemmer said in an interview, according to CBC News. “I’m just highlighting that they exist.” He added, “The computer modulates the bridge so that you can see that there is this kind of tangible aspect to our conversation that is very visible.” In the video above, former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke also took part in the installation and spoke to kids in Mexico.

Everyone obviously couldn’t experience this lovely installation in person, however, people on social media have been very moved by it.

One woman on Instagram said, “this made me sob, which is hard when you’ve had your breath taken away moments before. This is what art was created for, telling complex stories in a visually stunning manner, to help people understand. I believe in giving away our skills/free education. Imagine how stunning it would be to see the whole globe illuminated with Lights of Hope along every “border.” It’s possible. Give your blessing or blueprints to artist revolutionaries online, and let’s see how long it takes to light this rock up. #nobordersnonations #artisrevolution #makeartnotwar.” Another said, “Bless you. Bless your work. Bless your collaborative partners. I hope the children in our shameful American Detainment Camps for CHILDREN (those nearby) can see your Light. I pray that People crossing the border in the dark of the night see your Lights and it leads them Home. I Hope it soothes their souls and lets them know we have not forgotten them. America is and always will be a respite for the weary and down-trodden. We welcome ALL with open arms as WE would want to be welcomed in our most needy of times. I don’t care what negative people say, I believe in Hope, Righteousness, and the inherent Good in Everyone.”

READ: Kids On Both Sides Of The Border Wall Now Have Something Small To Smile About Thanks To An Artist Who Installed Seesaws