Two Different Identities In Two Fridas

Frida Kahlo was no stranger to pain. As much as she was a known artist and famous for painting, she is also famous for her optimism and strength under terrible medical and personal situations. At the age of 6 she was a victim of polio, a bad accident at the age of 18 that put her life in a dangerous condition, the wife of a cheating husband, and the survivor of multiple illnesses. Through most of her art work, she has shown her audience her physical suffering as well as her courage and strength in the face of pain. (Martin, Lauren)

Painting by Frida Kahlo 1946, Tree of Hope, Keep Firm, gives a lot of meaning to Frida Kahlo’s life. In this painting, she let out all her positive and negative emotions on a canvas. She painted her physical suffering that she underwent because of the horrific trolley accident. (Courtney, Carol, A., et al) Which put her on a bedrest that she began to paint to pass her time. This painting shows two Fridas, which shows us her expression of two different emotions or connections she is experiencing at the same time. One of the Frida in the painting is laying down on the hospital bed after a recent surgery, with two bleeding lesions on her back. Her two wounds on her back represent pain and suffering in the body. It also tells the audience that her life was full of illness, pain, despair and bad health. In the other figure, she is dressed in traditional clothing and showing her hope and will to live and holding up a message saying, “Tress of Hope, Remain Strong”. (Kahlo, Farida) This tells us that she still has a hope to get better and to move further in spite of all the pain and despair she has been through. When you first look at the painting it gives you a good and bad side of her life. We can clearly tell this by observing the light side and dark side of the painting. In this painting, she shows the theme of her physical pain and her emotional strength. The painting closely relates to the reading from our book “My Quest for health”. From the painting, what stood out to me was Frida’s life journey in which she transforms her negative and positive life into the form of artwork in which she finds the real purpose of her life. This painting represents Frida’s courage in the face of tragedy. Frida’s painting is a type of illness narrative, where she shows her illness in the form of restitution narrative. The only outcome of the restitution narrative is eventually getting better and well.

It seems to be a message in this painting which tells the audience to remain strong and see the positive aspects in every situation. (Jones, Therese., et al)

This painting of Frida is enriched with bright and vibrant colors through which she is illustrating her emotions and feelings in order to give us an inside view of what she was feeling during her hard times. And the aesthetic that provokes a specific response in the audience is the two sides or identities of the painting. In this painting under the gloomy sky sun and moon divided the background into two halves. Left side of the painting is bright as the sun shines on the sick and hospitalized Frida. On the right side of the painting is dark and the moon shines on her. The moon is a metaphor for her womanhood and strength. In the portrait of Tree of Hope, Frida shows her two sides and two identities to her audience such as light and darkness, the sun and the moon, the broken body and the energetic body, living and dying.  

07 July 2022
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