On Friday it was the 105th birthday of Frida Kahlo and, although I’d intended to have this post ready for that date as a celebration, now’s a good time as any.
In April my friend Frankie and I decided to get all dressed up and visit La Casa Azul, the blue house that Frida was born in and died in, and what has now been converted into Museo Frida Kahlo, a fabulous museum dedicated to the late artist.
Since arriving in Mexico, I’ve learned a lot about Frida and what she’s meant for the history of this country. While she married the famed Diego Rivera and had a tumultuous relationship with him until the day she died, Frida’s own work has now come to represent the truth about Mexican culture – particularly indigenous culture – and tradition. Her strength as a woman and willingness to never be afraid to challenge society’s expectations are qualities I’ve always admired. Her uncompromising temperament when it came to representing the female form and what made a woman is exactly why people still feel connected to her art to this day.
The house is split into two sections: The first half is dedicated to walls of Frida’s paintings, photographs and letters; The second contains untouched rooms still full to the brim with Frida and Diego’s belongings. Photography was banned inside but as I walked from room to room, reading my idol’s handwriting, touching her old dresses and admiring the places she rested her head, I was struck by the incredible power and forces that still emerged from this site.
This house was such a large part of Frida’s life that it felt quite surreal to be walking around it.
April wasn’t a good month for me. I suffered more homesickness than I’d ever experienced before, a bit of a quarter-life crisis about whether I was really in the right place, and a pinch of a hurting heart. I was genuinely unsure about whether I wanted to stay in D.F. for the long-haul.
Seeing such a magnificent place of inspiration and beauty changed all of that. It made me feel good inside and restored my love and interest for Mexican culture; It reminded me of the reasons I came here in the first place.
Now, whenever I feel blue or homesick or even a little overwhelmed and stressed with everything, I head to Casa Azul. It brings me comfort, inspiration and empowerment, and always reminds me that I can be the woman I want to be and can do anything I want.