In Puerto Vallarta, we have been a fan of Frida Kahlo for many years. Frida is an icon in Mexico and has long been revered in many ways. She is a symbol of strength, and the ability to overcome great obstacles.
Frida’s mother was mestiza from Oaxaca who married a German immigrant; they had four daughters, Friday being second to the youngest. Frida was born in Coyocán, is a house that has been turned into a museum dedicated to her art and life. We highly recommend a stopover at La Casa Azul, as it’s known, when visiting Mexico City.
The allure and spirit of Frida Kahlo ignited a huge following, whereas she had been relatively unknown for the exception of art and history students. Her life and tribulations were brought to the big screen with a movie starring Salma Hayek in 2002 and since that time, Friday has developed into somewhat of a pop culture icon. We often wonder what Frida would think of her face and signature decorating everything from T-shirts and tequila t lipstick and nail polish. Perhaps she’d be amused and have a good laugh. Friday Kahlo created her own fashion, didn’t follow norms and was known to darken her facila hair with colored pencils. She was not a subject of beauty in her era but has been highly commercialized in current times. Considering her dalliance with the Mexican Communist party, her unapologetic stance on her own dating habits, men and women of all ages and backgrounds, and her complete authenticity, it is hard to imagine her agreement with how she is venerated today. Yet, we believe she would be a touted as a major hero in Puerto Vallarta, with the gay presence and gender bending that is encouraged in this town. It is exactly how she lived and presented herself.
Frida Kahlo suffered from polio as a child and grew up with one leg shorter and thinner than the other. Her father encouraged her to partake in sports, which were not considered ladylike at the time, and she was extremely grateful for his support. It was her photographer father who encouraged her art, as well, after she was in a horrid accident when she was eighteen and spent years in recovery. Her pain, multiple surgeries and anguish are evident in her paintings that followed. A childhood hobby enabled her to develop a livelihood that would give her worldwide fame in the art community.
Frida Kahlo abhorred Western Imperialism and campaigned against the oppressive labor conditions of the United States. Today a search for her on Etsy will lead to nearly 30,000 results. It’s interesting to speculate what Frida might think about the commercialization of her legacy.
Que es cómo es.