Friday, January 7, 2011

Who's That Mori Girl? Frida Kahlo

I would like to present the next notable mori-girl in this series; Frida Kahlo. The self-taught painters was born July 6, 1907 as Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón in Coyoacán, Mexican . Kahlo was best known for her self-portraits, often including natural motifs as well as national and indigenous tradition, and the depiction of the female experience and form. 

Mexican culture and Amerindian cultural tradition figure prominently in her work, characterizing her work as folk art.  Her work has also been described as "surrealist", and in 1938 one surrealist described Kahlo herself as a "ribbon around a bomb". 

Frida is seated far right
Kahlo contracted polio at age six, which left her right leg thinner than the left, which Kahlo disguised by wearing long, colorful skirts. Through out her life she suffered health problems, many of which stemmed from a traffic accident in her teenage years. These issues are reflected in her works, more than half of which are self-portraits of one sort or another. Kahlo suggested, "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best". 

On September 17, 1925, Kahlo was riding in a bus when the vehicle collided with a trolley car. She suffered serious injuries in the accident, including a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. An iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus, which seriously damaged her reproductive ability. Reproductive imagery is also a common theme in her work. 

Kahlo also has a very unique sense of style, often adorning her hair with ribbons, fresh flowers and other headdresses. While she experimented with both feminine and masculine styles of dress, she often opted for traditionally patterned skirts, dresses and shawls dripping in lace and tassels. Her ethnic style of dress and layering mimics the shape of mori-girl fashion. Her choice of vivid hues is somewhat unfamiliar to natural-kei styles, but did reflect the traditionaly styling of her clothing.

Frida also opted for a natural styling when it came to her hair. She often declared that she was proud of her facial hair (eyebrows) and chose not to tame them. 

Kahlo also kept a variety of unusual pets including deer, hawks, monkeys Mexican hairless dogs; thought to have healing properties. 

Kahlo's sense of personal styling and affinity for nature clearly reflects a mori sensibility and lifestyle. 

More information on Frida's life can be found here.

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