Why Frida Kahlo Remains Relevant

“Oh my God!”, Mikey exclaimed as he read about Frida Kahlo for the first time, “she’s like someone you would be crazy about; a painter AND disabled!” Later he added that if she were alive, I’d probably be stalking her.

I started my “Frida Period” when I lived in Tucson, Arizona about 20 years ago. I was mad-crazy about her for about 5 years, buying every book I could get my hands on about her, collecting prints of her paintings, photographs of her were all over my apartments… Frida Kahlo for me was what ponies are for most other girls.

And then, I just stopped.

I felt sated with what I had, I felt like art around me was saturated with her, I felt like she was turning into an mass-produced icon without depth or relevance. So I quit.

Fast forward to last week when we were waiting in line to enter the Frida Kahlo museum in Coyoacan, Mexico. I started choking up seeing the blue of Casa Azul, just like that, the flood of memories came to me. All the hours spent pondering photos of her, absorbing her paintings.

In her place, it was overwhelming to see her actual clothes on display.

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It was overwhelming too, to see the actual spaces of her life. Her garden.

meriah nichols mexico-11 meriah nichols mexico-10 meriah nichols mexico-9 meriah nichols mexico-8Her studio.

meriah nichols mexico-15 meriah nichols mexico-14I teared up when Moxie’s small face photo bombed – and I couldn’t help but think of how much Frida would have LOVED this tiny, perfect and vibrant child of mine.

meriah nichols mexico-17 meriah nichols mexico-16 meriah nichols mexico-3Surprisingly small bed (- with the mirror above!).

meriah nichols mexico-2Diego’s room (downstairs, far away from hers..?)

meriah nichols mexico-20This was a place she loved. Her home. Her space.

meriah nichols mexico-19 meriah nichols mexico-18 Disability was a central theme in the museum – it wove its way so thoroughly in her life and work.

It was like she was caught on edge – between living, expressing and explaining her life. She was walking a line between making herself desirable, beautiful and existing authentically.

Who knows this feeling? Who doesn’t know this feeling?

Frida Kahlo’s life, visage and work has been overexposed and that’s a crying shame. Because she remains relevant simply by dint of her artistic, pioneering spirit. She took the conversation on disability to a new level; she probed and exposed her realities, she made what was once hidden, accessible to the non-disabled. She spoke in a way that was understood, through the language of art.

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She painted in the fluid colours of her emotions.

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Access Details:

The museum is free for people with disabilities and appears to be largely wheelchair accessible.

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I was wondering about how wheelchairs got into her studio/bedroom – and how guests to the museum can access them from a wheelchair?

Also: we got there around noon. The line to get in was long but moved quickly. It was fine. The cafe is anemic; if you have kids, you might want to bring your own snacks (there are plenty of great tables for sitting down at in the back).

The gift shop is also a little on the scant side. Kind of made me sad that I’ve seen cooler Frida stuff in Oakland than in the Casa Azul, but there you go.

PS

It’s a great place to wear out kids

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Meriah
is a deaf blogger, global nomad, tech-junkie, cat-lover, Trekkie, Celto-Teutonic-peasant-handed mom of 3 (one with Down syndrome and one gifted 2E).
She likes her coffee black and hot.
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4 Comments

  • Wow! What a treat to look at your photos of the Frida home! She is beloved to me too. Love the clothes, the walls, the paintbrushes hanging from the back of the easel. Love your blog and adore your children!

  • Thank you so much for posting your wonderful words and pictures! I’ve only seen inside Frida’s home via books but your pictures, wow! It looks like Frida has just stepped out for a while. Ahh, one day I might be fortunate enough to see this magical place first hand, but until then, this post will keep me sated!

    • thank you! so much. It was really hard to take photos because I was carrying Mack for most of it and he was NOT pleased.
      But it was such a wonderful place. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were to go there

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