"We endure more than we think we can"
Lately I have been fascinated with exploring, learning and uncovering the life and artwork of Frida Kahlo. For most of us, she is known as the woman with an intense uni-brow, who has been printed on numerous t-shirts and mugs of late! And it's true, she did sport a magnificent singular eyebrow, with admirable confidence. Absolutely no signs of a dodgy razor job to the middle of those brows, which so many of us sport! (Yes, I'm talking to you).
However, I decided to dig a little deeper and find out more about her and what the big shake with Frida really was. Turns out, she's a pretty phenomenal and inspiring artist.
I'm not going to go into too much detail about her, however I'll tell you some things I've learned about her and from her on my journey of Frida discovery.
Number one: She was a magnificent Mexican artist, who focused mainly on self portraits. Hence why her striking face, eyebrow and all, has been adopted by popular culture. The images you are seeing of her, are often her own self portraits. Pretty badass.
Number two: She was severely injured in a bus accident. When I say severely, I literally mean, she was impaled by a railing. Sorry if that's a bit intense, but it truly only adds to how magnificent she was as a woman and artist. Her injuries meant she was confined to bed rest for months and had to leave her studies. But did she let that hold her back? Not our Frida! She began painting with a specially made easel that allowed her to create masterpieces from her bed, using an overhead mirror to paint her famous self portraits.
Number three: She was pals with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. Lucky guys.
Number four: In 1953, Frida received an opportunity for her first solo art exhibition in Mexico, however at the time, she was severely unwell and bedridden. Yet again, with great Frida style resilience, she wouldn't let that stop her! She arrived to the exhibition in an ambulance and lay up in a four poster bed discussing her work, greeting her guests and just generally displaying a great example of magnificent-ness.
Number five: After her death, the feminist movement of the 1970's sparked a renewed interest in her work and life. This meant she became an icon of female creativity. She is one of the most widely quoted female artists and her work has transcended her initial goals of passing the time while she was sick.
As a young female artist, it only stands to sense that I am incredibly inspired, moved and motivated by Frida, not only as an inspiring woman, but as a resilient artist. She gives me hope, she champions the unconventional and she celebrates the Arts industry, even in death.
The industry is currently under so much pressure due to Covid19. Artists, venues and spectators are scraping the barrel for funds, yearning for live performance and feeling what can only be described as grief for our arts world. However, we can learn so much from the artists before us. We can learn so much from Frida's unrelenting resilience.
It gave me ultimate joy to see that the Dublin Theatre Festival is going ahead. And yes, there are restrictions, yes there are less people allowed in the auditorium, yes there are inconvenient measures in place with regards to masks etc. But how amazing is this?! How resilient is this?! How absolutely and utterly inspiring and motivating is this news?! In this, we are seeing first hand how we CAN shift and remould our industry to fit this new world. We CAN find a way, where there seems to be no hope. We CAN make moves towards an arts filled world again.
Frida was once quoted saying, "At the end of the day, we endure more than we think we can". She's right. Whether you're an artist, a venue, or anyone at all who feels impacted in any way by the past year's events, you can endure more than you think you can, you will endure more than you think you can and you have endured more than you thought you could. And in knowing that, we can do anything.