Otomi Frida

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Art Key

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Kahlo chose to keep her brows thick and unruly going against the heavily plucked style worn by Hollywood stars at the time. Her unibrow became a distinct trademark, she often even exaggerated it in her self portraits. 55 out of her 143 paintings were self-portraits. 

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Frida wore her long black hair in a way deemed unfashionable at the time, center parted into two braids and accessorized with flowers, the flowers were usually from her own garden.

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Frida chose to dress in traditional indigenous clothing. Her blouse here is covered in Otomi embroidery. The Otomi people embroider white material with bright depictions of flora and Fauna native to their area of Mexico. 

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Frida is wearing a crown of peonies here. Each petal on a peony is silky, soft and delicate. Fragile. Because the tens of layered petals on this stunning bloom, this flower is deceivingly robust and strong. A Peony plant can live for more than 100 years.

Frida’s Physical health was a challenge all of her life. At the age of 6 she contracted Polio and lost mobility in one of her legs. When she was 18 she was in a bus accident and was impaled by a handrail. Her spine broke in three places, her right leg in 11 places, her shoulder was dislocated, and collarbone broken. Upon waking up in a hospital she requested art supplies to kill the time and alleviate the pain. This body altering event led to a life of surgeries, recoveries, and pain. Her dire physical condition became the inspiration for her morbid and macabre paintings.

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Her heart and dagger pendant represent the joy and pain filled life she led. Specifically, her love life and marriage to Mexican painter Diego Rivera was especially painful as he was a douche canoe. Frida and Diego divorced after one of his many affairs (this one with her sister). Frida knew many other loves in her life but ultimately, she and Diego remarried, and he cared for her and her failing body in the years before her death. 

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As an adult, Kahlo was not a practicing Catholic, but Catholic imagery can be seen in many of her works. As more than 80% of Mexico identifies as belonging to the Catholic faith, Frida was no doubt influenced by her country and her devout mother.