Growing up in Mexico City, Frida Kahlo began painting when she was 18 years old following a life-altering bus accident. While she's most well-known for her introspective self-portraits, she also innovated within the traditional practices of still-life painting.
Inspired by her painful medical conditions and tumultuous romantic relationships, Kahlo sought to depict herself and her emotions as honestly as she could within her work through symbolic and narrative paintings. A celebrity during her lifetime, the artist was famous for both her artwork and her political activism, and formed friendships with other household-name artists of the time, including Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.
Kahlo's first exhibition was hosted in Mexico in in 1953. While she was bedridden at the time, nothing could stop the persistent artist from attending her opening reception! Still heeding her doctor's orders, she arrived by ambulance and had the gallery set up a bed for her to mingle and celebrate from.
Photo from Vintage News Daily
While the artist is often associated with the Surrealist movement due to her dreamlike and often unsettling subjects, the artist actually claimed otherwise during her lifetime.
“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”Frida Kahlo
To honor Frida Kahlo's life and legacy, festivals celebrating the artist are held every year in cities all around the world. In 2017, the Dallas Museum of Art set out to break the Guinness World Record for "the largest gathering of people dressed like Frida Kahlo in one place" at their Frida Fest event!
Photo by the DMA