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Wednesday’s Wise Woman … Frida Kahlo

January 30, 2013


Over the last months, I have written briefly and inadequately about women who have  risen above adversity (Whatever that is?) to fame (Whatever that is?) My selection may seem random but it is not altogether without careful consideration; mainly because ‘ What do I know?’  Also,’What can I say?’ in 400 words (my self imposed word limit) who has indeed found fame while I have not and never will!
So it is from this humble place I look towards Frida Kahlo, (1907 -1954) who has contributed much to the world of art,  to the Mexican Peace movement and making political stands against the North American Government and to the female forum while suffering tragedy and pain.
I have read Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, and various art books about Frida and even found a poetry book and all provide a rich source in relation to her life and do her a great justice.
Its is her tragedy and her power to overcome it, that comes to the fore; one book called Kahlo by Andrea Kettenmann; has the subtitle ‘Pain and Passion and begins with the first chapter ‘Peg-leg Frida and the rebellious child’
However it is the poem by Pascale Petit that tells it for me.

wonded deer

The wounded deer

I have a woman’s face
but I am a little stag,
because I have the balls
to come this far into the forest
to where the trees are broken.
The nine points of my antlers
are battled
with nine arrows in my hide.

I can hear the bone-saw
in the ocean on the horizon.
I emerged from the waters
of the Hospital for Special Surgery.
It had deep blue under-rooms.
And once, when  I opened my eyes
too quickly after the graft,
I could see right through
all the glass ceilings,
up to where the lightning forked
across the New York sky
like the antlers of sky-deer,
rain arrowing the herd.

Small and dainty as I am
I escaped into this canvas,
where I look back at you
in your steel corset, painting
the last splash on my hoof.

In this image a young stag is fatally wounded by arrows, the artist expresses the disappointment  which followed the operation on her spine in New York in 1946, which she had hoped would cure her pain.  Back in Mexico she continued to suffer both physical pain and deep depression.
The wounded stag was painted later in her career; after she had polio as  child, then as teenage suffered as a result of a near-fatal bus accident which left her in constant pain for the rest of her life. Her marriage to the muralist Diego Rivera bought much despair, she loved him dearly but he subjected her to infidelity and cruelty.  During this time she had three miscarriages followed by a acrimonious divorce. Frida underwent many operations none of this seemed to thwart her vivacity and love of nature.
“I lost three children and a series of other things that could have fulfilled my horrible life.  My painting took place of all this .  I think work is best.’ Frida Kahlo

In 1954 Frida caught pneumonia when she , against the wishes if her doctors, takes part in a demonstration against North-American intervention in Guatemala.  Frida died on the 13th July in the Blue House the house where she was born and returned to in 1941.

Further reading
Frida Kahlo 1907 -1954 Pain and passion by Andrea Kettenmann
What the water gave me ; poems after Frida Kahlo by Pascale Petit
The lacuna by Barbara Resolver

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 7, 2015 9:35 am

    Reblogged this on Living, Libraries and [Dead] Languages and commented:

    Today I reblog an artist I admire above most not just because she is a fine artist, but because she succeeded while enduring much pain, illness and emotional hurt. I am an artist, not great but a master of self pity, regret and despair so after a few more painkillers, yoga and Acupuncture I will make wishes for those in pain …

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