Recovering With Grace

“Frida Kahlo (2002/1975)” by Rupert Garcia on view at Hudson River Museum (photo by ArtsWestchester)

Recovering from a life-changing accident, Frida Kahlo was bedridden for many months at age 18. With a makeshift easel, a mirror and some of her father’s oils, she painted portraits of herself to fill the time. Thus began one of the most revered images in art history—that of Frida Kahlo herself—which has resonated for decades. So popular was her image that artists everywhere have seemed compelled to paint their own portraits of Kahlo. 

It’s hard to discern whether it was her life, her art, her simplicity, her style, her struggle, her authenticity, her strength or all of those traits that attracted people to her even years after her death in 1954. This remarkable woman became so strong an icon that her image is ubiquitous. This month, images of her created by some 70+ artists occupy two galleries at the Hudson River Museum.  The depictions are personal. Each artist seemed to have drawn some inspiration from Kahlo’s persona. For me, Frida gave me courage.  Recently, my eyesight has diminished and I struggle to clearly see photographs and small works of art. Remembering Frida’s insurmountable courage has helped me accept my own disability, hopefully with grace.