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English National Ballet Is Streaming Frida Kahlo Ballet ‘Broken Wings’ For Quarantined Fans

The life of Frida Kahlo has seen many stages. It’s been documented and analyzed in novels, essays, research papers. Depicted on screen and plays. Now, the English National Ballet is doing her colorful life justice with some “on pointe” treatment.

The world-class ballet company has launched ENB At Home, and as part of its new streaming series, will be releasing the Frida Kahlo-inspired production Broken Wings.

As part of their ENB streaming service, the company will showcase a new dance performance on its Facebook and YouTube channels for free for 48 hours. The first one to air will be tonight on Wednesday, April 22. First recorded at Sadler’s Wells in London in 2016, ‘Broken Wings’ will star lead principal (and ENB artistic director) Tamara Rojo as the painter. In the recorded ballet, Rojo appears alongside Irek Mukhamedov, who plays the role of Kahlo’s husband and fellow artist Diego Rivera.  

The story, which is choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, tells the story of the Mexican artist’s life which was often riddled with pain and heartbreak. 

More of the streaming program will be revealed as time goes on. In the meantime, English National Ballet and various other ballet houses are currently closed. For now, many are running online ballet classes for fans self-quarantining at home.  

Frida Kahlo was a visionary Mexican artist born on July 6th,

1907 and passed on July 13, 1954. She lived a short, but quite eventful, 47 years of life. While Kahlo lived in Paris, New York, and San Francisco, Kahlo is known for being fiercely proud of her Mexican heritage, using dress to evoke political meaning.

To this day, her work inspires and resonates still with the queer, female and non-gender-conforming experiences.

1. Frida Kahlo is the OG Selfie Queen.

@jollenelevid / Twitter

Most people, when they think of Frida Kahlo’s artwork, think of her self portraits. During her life, her art was eclipsed by her husband’s, Diego Rivera. Only until after she passed and the Feminist Revolution erupted in the 1970’s did the public truly appreciate her refusal to be defined by anyone else, and her whole-hearted self acceptance, as depicted in her portraits.

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.”

2. Most of Kahlo’s paintings are not of herself.

@artfridakahlo / Twitter

Of her 143 paintings, 55 are self portraits and the other 88 are not. She actually painted mostly still-life images of fruit and flowers alongside political symbols.

What do you think of the porcelain blonde girl in the white dress peering over the bed of tropical fruit?

3. Kahlo was in a terrible bus accident when she was 18 years old.

@BestOfMx / Twitter

One September morning, Frida and her boyfriend boarded a bus that would collide with a train. Her boyfriend remembers the bus as “bursting into a thousand pieces.” A handrail ripped through Kahlo’s torso.

Later, he recounted, “Something strange had happened. Frida was totally nude. The collision had unfastened her clothes. Someone in the bus, probably a house painter, had been carrying a packet of powdered gold. This package broke, and the gold fell all over the bleeding body of Frida. When people saw her, they cried, ‘La bailarina, la bailarina!’ With the gold on her red, bloody body, they thought she was a dancer.”

The column here represents her fragile spine, which would cause chronic pain for the rest of her life.

4. While bedridden, Kahlo painted her first paintings.

@toadstool_house / Twitter

Kahlo broke her spinal column, collar bone, ribs, pelvis, fractured her right leg in 11 places, dislocated her shoulder and even lost her fertility. She would live in pain for the rest of her life, but her mother’s invention to arrange a special easel near her bed eased her pain.

5. Kahlo dreamed of becoming a doctor, but instead endured more than 30 surgeries in her lifetime.

@arthistoryfeed / Twitter

Before the accident, she suffered polio as a child and was pursuing medicine. The injuries from the accident forced her instead into grief over what was lost, especially her ability to bear children.

The accident irreparably damaged her uterus, causing several devastating miscarriages. Above is a self portrait titled Henry Ford Hospital, that depicts what she lost.

6. Kahlo preferred long skirts to cover her leg.

@fequalsHQ / Twitter

“I must have full skirts and long, now that my sick leg is so ugly.”

Her leg was left severely deformed from the polio, and modern doctors now think she may have also had spina bifida.

7. Her right leg was amputated at the knee towards the end of her life.

@artfridakahlo / Twitter

You can see how her right foot on the left is withered from the polio. Eventually it developed gangrene. The right is an image Frida drew in her diary. She tried to make light by writing, “Feet, why do I want you if I have wings to fly?”

8. Frida Kahlo’s father was German.

@toadstool_house / Twitter

Her father suffered a similar fate, moving to Mexico after epilepsy developed by an accident ended his university studies. Her mother was half Spanish and half indigenous Oaxacana.

9. Frida was born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón, but dropped the ‘e’.

@SalvadorSalort / Twitter

Frieda comes from the German word “friede”, which means peace. Ironically, she dropped the ‘e’ in 1935 to avoid being associated with Germany during Hitler’s rule. 

10. Kahlo met her husband and famous muralist, Diego Rivera, in the Mexican Communist Party.

lupitovi / Pinterest

They met at a party, and she asked him to judge her work. He said that her paintings had “an unusual energy of expression, precise delineation of character, and true severity.”

Their relationship was volatile. He was 20 years older than her and immediately left his then second-wife to marry Frida Kahlo. Kahlo and Rivera divorced and remarried a year later. They both had extramarital affairs, Rivera having one with Frida’s sister.

11. Frida Kahlo was queer AF.

@GiuseppeTurrisi / Twitter

In all the ways, from her gender expression to her sexuality. She once said, “There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”

Many historians now believe that Diego’s self-professed pride in being a womanizer is what gave her so much untold turmoil and pain.

But, soon things changed when she moved to Paris…

12. Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker fell madly in love in Paris 1939.

“Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker – a Fabulous Romance” Digital Image. MusArtBoutique. 6 July 2018.

Josephine Baker was working for the French Military Intelligence agency at the time, working against Hitler. Baker was also a singer, and both of them became famous in town for being openly bisexual.

13. Rare photos have surfaced showing Kahlo dressed in suits in family photos.

“Frida 2.” Digital Image. Bustle. 6 July 2018.

This picture was taken when she was 17 years old, just one year before the bus accident that would change everything. Frida Kahlo truly pushed the boundaries, and unapologetically so.

14. She even painted a self portrait of herself in a suit.

“Frida 5.” Digital Image. Bustle. 6 July 2018.

Her hair was in pieces all around her on the ground, and she held a pair of scissors to her groin. Historians always assumed it was a threat to Diego Rivera for his infidelity or some kind of message of self-hate.

15. Kahlo redefined Mexican mythology in her work.

@ransomcenter / Twitter

Monkeys are usually symbols of lust in Mexican and Colombian mythology, but Kahlo always depicts them as tender, protective symbols.

Perhaps a message to all of us recovering Catholics that there’s nothing threatening or inherently wrong about lust.

16. Kahlo’s “The Frame” was the first piece of Mexican art purchased by the Louvre.

@neongreece / Twitter

Her work, today, also garners more money than any other female artist. While she was alive, Pablo Picasso took an interest in her work, alongside other surrealists, to which she responded:

They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.

17. Kahlo had several exotic pets…like monkey exotic.

@ReadingInHeels / Twitter

Pictured above is her fawn, Granizo. She also had a few Mexican hairless Xoloitzcuintli (that hairless dog breed that was coveted by the Aztecs), a pair of spider monkeys named Fulang Chang and Caimito de Guayabal, an Amazon parrot called Bonito and an eagle named Gertrudis Caca Blanca.

18. Kahlo arrived to her first art show in an ambulance.

Untitled. Digital Image. Lisa Wall Rogers. 6 July 2018.

During her last year of life, she scored her first solo exhibition in Mexico. Against doctor’s orders, Kahlo asked the ambulance to take her from the hospital to her exhibit, and she pulled up as if in a limousine.

19. At one point, Kahlo was force fed to keep her alive.

@Hamiltoniana / Twitter

Her many surgeries and illnesses brought a lack of appetite. Her doctor ordered that she be sent to bed rest and be fed a fattening purée of food every two hours.

The ladder depicted here is what she would use to paint from her bed, only to be replaced by a disgusting array of animal products.

On the back of the painting, she wrote: “Not the least hope remains to me…Everything move in time with what the belly contains.”

20. Kahlo has become a feminist icon.

@HarvardLibrary / Twitter

While during her life, she was known as the wife of Master Mural Painter Diego Rivera with a side hobby, she lived and painted the fullest expression of her self. Her paintings give deeply personal insight into the female experience, especially that of a disabled, queer experience during a time it was anything but OK to be that.

I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.

21. Frida was born and died in the same house, Casa Azul.

@QatarandYonder / Twitter

Her home has since been made into el Museo de Frida Kahlo, in Mexico City. You can go visit the home that housed so much recovery, inspiration, and fearlessness.

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You Can Visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Right Now With This Incredible 360º Tour

Culture

You Can Visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Right Now With This Incredible 360º Tour

omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Thanks to Coronavirus, you’re likely not hopping on a plane any time soon to go and visit one of the world’s top destinations – Mexico City. Most of us are still following stay-at-home orders and the rest of the world is pretty much off limits to us all right now. But thankfully, we do have access to the World Wide Web, right?

Sure, we could pass the time binge watching our favorite TV shows, but why not take a little time to go on a little museum tour of one of the most famous Mexicans of all time?

Thanks to some super cool tech – and the magic of Google – Frida Kahlo’s famed Casa Azul Museum is at your finger tips. You can pay a visit from your living room, bedroom, patio – where ever you wanna be.

Frida’s Casa Azul is one of the most popular attractions in Mexico.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Before the pandemic, la Ciudad de México had become one of the world’s top destinations. With it’s rich mix of foods and cultures and tons of attractions and museums (the city reportedly has the highest count of museums in the world!), it was at the top of tourist’s lists.

And at the top of the recommended sights to take in – the famous Casa Azul. Located a bit south of the central city in the beautiful colonia of Coyoacán, is the house where Frida Kahlo was born and spent much of her life.

People would often wait in line for several hours to pay a visit to this venerated museum and garden complex. In fact, it was rated by Salma Hayek as one of her favorite things to do in the city, in an interview with Vanity Fair. But now, Google is bringing the museum to you and it’s incredible. You can follow along with the following tour using this link.

With this virtual tour, you get the chance to pop into the artist’s famed studio.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Inside Frida’s studio, you can truly visualize her experience as an artist. The space is filled with giant windows letting in all sorts of natural light. There’s also a large collection of books and prints that likely provided her with inspiration for her pieces.

Visitors also get a glimpse of her workstation, filled with paints, brushes, canvases and other supplies.

You can visit her kitchen…

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Easily one of my favorite parts of the house, is the cocina – which is beautifully decorated in traditional Mexican style. It’s home to a large collection of pottery and woodworking which lends it a very cozy feeling.

Take a look at the thousands of art pieces that are located inside the museum.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Several rooms of the house and its hallways, are now dedicated to displaying thousands of Frida Kahlo’s works. In fact, Casa Azul is home to the largest collection of Kahlo pieces in the world – which makes sense since this was her actual home.

From photographs and writings, to famed paintings and sketches, a Frida Kahlo fan could easily spend hours walking through these galleries.

Along with many of her iconic fashion looks.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Perhaps one of the most popular exhibits at the museum, is the dress vault. This gallery is home to some of the artist’s most famous looks. And let’s face it: Frida Kahlo is a fashion icon in so many ways.

The museum often rotates the clothing that is on display so visitors are often treated to new looks.

And the museum is well-known for its gardens, which you also get the chance to visit.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Casa Azul is also well-known for it’s beautiful gardens. Often home to roaming peacocks, it’s a tranquil setting in the midst of the bustling city and likely one of the top draws for visitors.

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A Recently Shared Letter From Frida Kahlo To Diego Rivera Details Her Struggle The Day Before Having Her Leg Amputated And It Will Break Your Heart

Fierce

A Recently Shared Letter From Frida Kahlo To Diego Rivera Details Her Struggle The Day Before Having Her Leg Amputated And It Will Break Your Heart

Fotosearch / Getty

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera have been known for having one of the art world’s most notoriously turbulent marriages. Both artists were guilty of having multiple affairs and straying away from their marriage, breaking up and getting back together only to become one again. Yet, despite their hard times, the Mexican artists had a bond that transcended the ages and one that has stirred countless discussions about their passion and love.

In a series of love letters from Kahlo to Rivera published in The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait readers are given insight into both the anguish and longing that was woven into their marriage.

One letter, recently shared by the Instagram page @historycoolkids, shows a momentary rift in their marriage when Kahlo was preparing to have her leg amputated.

Written in 1953, the letter for Rivera was written while Kahlo was in the hospital.

It reads:

⁣”I’m writing this letter from a hospital room before I am admitted into the operating theatre. They want me to hurry, but I am determined to finish writing first, as I don’t want to leave anything unfinished. Especially now that I know what they are up to. They want to hurt my pride by cutting a leg off. When they told me it would be necessary to amputate, the news didn’t affect me the way everybody expected. No, I was already a maimed woman when I lost you, again, for the umpteenth time maybe, and still I survived.⁣

I am not afraid of pain and you know it. It is almost inherent to my being, although I confess that I suffered, and a great deal, when you cheated on me, every time you did it, not just with my sister but with so many other women. How did they let themselves be fooled by you?

Let’s not fool ourselves, Diego, I gave you everything that is humanly possible to offer and we both know that. But still, how the hell do you manage to seduce so many women when you’re such an ugly son of a bitch?

The reason why I’m writing is not to accuse you of anything more than we’ve already accused each other of in this and however many more bloody lives. It’s because I’m having a leg cut off (damned thing, it got what it wanted in the end). I told you I’ve counted myself as incomplete for a long time, but why the fuck does everybody else need to know about it too? Now my fragmentation will be obvious for everyone to see, for you to see… That’s why I’m telling you before you hear it on the grapevine. I’m writing to let you know I’m releasing you, I’m amputating you. Be happy and never seek me again. I don’t want to hear from you, I don’t want you to hear from me. If there is anything I’d enjoy before I die, it’d be not having to see your fucking horrible bastard face wandering around my garden.⁣

That is all, I can now go to be chopped up in peace.⁣

Good bye from somebody who is crazy and vehemently in love with you,⁣

Your Frida”

Despite the letter, Kahlo didn’t “amputate” Rivera out of her life completely.

In fact, in her last days, Kahlo lived with Rivera and even made a public appearance with him in a demonstration against the CIA invasion of Guatemala. After her death, Rivera stated that her loss was “the most tragic day of my life.” Three years after his death, Riva requested to have his ashes mixed with Kahlo’s (this despite the fact that he married again after her death). Instead, the Mexican government opted to inter his remains in Mexico City’s famous Rotunda of Illustrious Men.

The message from Kahlo is being celebrated by her fans on Instagram as the “best letter in history.”

Fans of Kahlo called her letter “badass” and the greatest they’d ever read. “She was such a talent and such a twisted soul,” one user wrote in the post’s comment sections.

That part where she wonders why Diego was able to be such a womanizer despite being an “ugly son of a bitch” does pretty much make her badass.

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