More than 60 years after her death, painter Frida Kahlo and her Casa Azul in Mexico City are still a source of admiration and inspiration. Her life is as intricate as her paintings and revered all over the world. Here are some iconic images celebrating her life in Caza Azul.
In 1943, Frida posed with her painting “Diego on My Mind” (left) a self-portrait featuring the traditional Tehuana costume. On the right, Frida is holding her pet monkey in the courtyard of her blue house.
Ever struggled to drag yourself from bed for a little morning gym? Yeah, you’re not alone. Getting into shape is often a matter of finding the right motivation.
Would $525 help?
That’s the amount that the Mexico City government is planning to reward its police officers who’re prepared to drop the extra pounds. That’s right – they’ll be paid to get trim.
Mexico City has launched the ‘Healthy Policia’ program which aims to help police get in shape.
The Secretariat of Citizen Security of Mexico launched the program to combat the problem of Mexico’s overweight police. The problem is so huge, no pun intended, that a 2017 study by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) found that a whopping 8 out of 10 city police officers were overweight.
The government hopes that rewarding MXN10,000 (525 US dollars) to agents who lose weight, might finally help put the force into better shape.
Overweight police are a common sight on city streets.
Anyone who’s visited Mexico City will likely have seen large and heavy uniformed police officers pacing street corners on duty or standing in the torta line.
Obesity is a massive issue that cuts through all segments of Mexican society.
But you wouldn’t be crazy to expect a higher fitness standard from those whose duty should be to keep la gente safe and maintain order in this bustling city.
But, sadly, seeing overweight agents on duty is just business as usual.
Obesity in Mexico, not just among the police force, is an epidemic.
In fact, a 2018 National Survey of Professional Police Standards and Training found that 79.4% of officers exceed their recommended BMI. And not only does it affect job performance – it’s also a serious health issue for them.
A national survey found that 81.4% of police officers suffered from at least one chronic disease. Topping the list was high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic stress.
That same survey found that, interestingly, police with operational roles were more likely to be overweight or obese, than those in administrative roles.
The new Healthy Polícia initiative is designed to pay off over 6 months.
This new Healthy Polícia initiative will benefit up to 2,000 members of Mexico City’s police force and will even require them to sign a letter of commitment to the cause.
The program rolls out in stages over 6 months. To start with, the agent’s level of obesity will be diagnosed. For the next five months, the agent will receive 1,000 pesos for every month that they manage to lose weight. On the sixth month, they’ll receive a final bonus reward of 4,000 pesos as the proverbial cherry-on-top.
Participants will also receive medical, psychological, nutritional and dental care during the program.
Mexican police authorities are also making an effort to improve their force’s diets, across the board.
In a country with more cheap chicharron and tortas de tamale than ya can shake a stick at, it’s not too surprising that the authorities behind the Mexico City police force were forced to take some sort of measure regarding diet.
From October of last year, a program was kicked off to cut back on the calorie and carb intake of the force’s diets. They’ve since changed the menus of its 60 dining rooms to offer a much more balanced, low calorie diet, and have nutritionists keeping an eye on the daily fare.
While the new food regulations have supposedly been effective for many, it hasn’t been all fun and games. Some of the police have apparently struggled with the switch in focus from meat, to fruit and veg. One officer reportedly said the measure is “hard” and “leaves us very hungry.”
This comes a month after news of 625 Mexican federal police officers being rejected from the National Guard for being too heavy.
News surfaced last month that a huge number of federal police officers who wanted to move to Mexico’s new National Guard division, were instead instructed to slim down.
According to a leaked audio recording, over 625 federal police were rejected for not meeting the strict physical requirements of the National Guard. Instead, these agents were transferred to the National Immigration Institute (INM) to help control immigration at checkpoints on Mexico’s northern and southern borders during the ongoing crisis.
And obesity isn’t just a problem for the cops.
The obesity epidemic in Mexico has skyrocketed in the last decade. More and more Mexican families are gorging on processed, sweet and saturated foods and the collective effort has turned Mexico into one of the fattest nations on the planet – with five million clinically obese people living in Mexico City.
According to WHO, Mexico has one of the highest per-capita consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the world. It’s estimated that almost nearly 10% of total energy intake for adults comes from sugar-sweetened beverages. Duuude.
In fact, things are so bad that the city even installed machines that give out free metro tickets in exchange for squats!
Frida Kahlo is the most recognizable Mexican painter of the past century. That bold brow, traditional Mexican garb and piercing stare are undeniably Frida in a way that makes her completely unique among other artists. She’s also one of the most widely portrayed Mexican figures of all time. Her image adorns everything from tee-shirts and jewelry to murals and makeup. Her image is so recognizable that flower crowns, red lipstick, and ungroomed eyebrows will forever have an association with the artist.
To add to the Frida imagery in our world, a new mural featuring the famous artista has just been unveiled in Mexico and she has never looked better.
Painted by Irish artist Fin DAC, the mural portrays Frida Kahlo in bold primary colors and traditional Mexican dress.
Twitter / @la_linea
The artwork is named “Magdalena” and is located in Guadalajara — the capital of Jalisco. In the mural, Frida is represented with a full-body image, hands placed together in front of her as if in prayer. Vibrant flowers and butterflies adorn her like a crown in true Frida fashion.
She wears a huipil (a multicolored blouse traditionally found in southern Mexico), a pink shawl and a long blue skirt accentuated with various-sized skulls. The ten-story mural also depicts the artist with a blue mask across her eyes. This is artist Fin DAC’s signature that he adds to all of his pieces and works to enhance the dark stare that Frida gives viewers.
The artist responsible for this mural has lots of experience creating urban art in Latin America.
Twitter / @BrasilEFE
Between 2012 and 2017, Fin DAC visited Latin America several times. He created six murals total in Colombia and Brazil during that time. This is his first time creating art in Mexico. The artistic is known for his style — called “Urban Aesthetics” — and has made art on the streets of five different continents. His images also include women dressed in the native costume of their countries and are finished with his signature mask.
The artist explained the reasoning for his attention to national traditions to Mexanist. He said:
“No matter the culture and nationality for me, I am more interested in the type of clothing typical of each place, each country and each place has something to offer and show in this sense.”
For Fin DAC, the choice to depict Frida on this wall was an easy one. The artist explained that her own artwork always sought to exalt the women it depicted — much like his own. Frida’s own famous way of dressing always incorporated traditional Mexican costuming too so the decision to paint the famous Mexican for this piece was “almost obvious” to the painter.
The artist was invited to create this mural as part of celebrations for the Despertares Impulsa dance festival.
Instagram / @findac
Created by famous Mexican dancer, Isaac Hernández, the Despertares Impulsa dance festival began as a way to gather and stimulate the creative industry in Mexico. With the backing of the Mexican National Institute of Fine Arts, the event offers performances, workshops, lectures, master classes and meet and greets. The festival also offers opportunities for free auditions to different international dance companies.
Fin DAC was invited to create this piece by the director of Despertares Impulsa. The image was painted on a wall facing Chapultepec Avenue — a busy street that receives lots of traffic in the urban area. Fin DAC choose this location purposefully for this reason.
“When you see a spectacular advertising pole,” he said, “You see an image trying to sell you something you don’t need, but it makes you feel like you want it. (On the other hand) when you see a piece of art on the street it brings you a moment of happiness and peace, nothing from the advertising you see will make you happy, but art can definitely do it.
The mural was officially unveiled on July 15th, 2019 as part of the festival’s celebrations.
Twitter / @findac
The unveiling comes at a time of year significant to Frida fans. July 6th was the 112th anniversary of the artist’s birth. The 65th anniversary of her passing also happened this past month on the 13th of July. As such, this beautiful mural is an appropriate gift to honor the late Mexican artist.
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