July commemorates both the birth and death anniversaries of beloved feminist icon Frida Kahlo. This Mexican artist is now considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Her tumultuous life began and ended in Mexico City, in her home called “La Casa Azul” (the blue house), which is now a museum dedicated to her work. Frida is known for her self-portraits that feature her unique look of braids, indigenous jewelry, traditional Tehuana garb, signature eyebrows and a hint of a mustache.
These anniversaries are a great opportunity to get an art history lesson in with a fun coloring activity for the kids. As an art teacher, homeschooling mom and self-proclaimed Frida Kahlo fanatic, I share my love of Frida with my kids all the time. Still, Frida is actually a challenging character to introduce to young children. Her life was filled with so much pain, suffering and controversy, not to mention a good bit of adult subject matter. When sharing Frida’s life with my kids, I try to focus on Frida’s unique style and undeniable talent as an artist.
“Mommy, make me a Frida!” my daughters say to me often. So that is exactly what I do: create Frida Kahlo portraits for them to fill in and color with markers, crayons and craft paint. Frida was a master of the selfie—her self-portraits are some of the most well known paintings of her career, so it seems only fitting to share one with our readers to celebrate the great artist and cultural icon Frida Kahlo.
10 interesting facts about Frida:
Frida’s full name was Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo Calderón.
She contracted polio at 6 years old, which left her right leg thinner than the left; she always disguised it later in life by wearing long, colorful skirts.
Frida was involved in a serious bus accident at the age of 18 which left her with a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, and 11 fractures in her right leg.
Frida endured approximately 30 operations in her lifetime.
Frida married Mexican mural painter Diego Rivera twice.
The artist traveled to Paris in 1939 and exhibited with a group of Surrealist painters. She did not consider herself a Surrealist. "They said I was a Surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality," she said.
Frida and Diego’s marriage was often described as a union between a dove and an elephant.
Pop star Madonna owns more than one Frida Kahlo’s original paintings.
Frida was on the cover of the November 2012 special edition of Vogue Mexico.
Her ashes rest in a pottery urn on her dresser in La Casa Azul.
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