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Being Frida Kahlo
Being Frida Kahlo
As a child, she scored goals, swam laps, and tackled wrestlers. As a teen, she dressed in traditional Tehuana outfits and hung around activist students at a nearly all-male preparatory school. After being impaled by a steel handrail from a bus accident at age 18 that left her bedridden for months and burdened with a lifetime of chronic pain, she explored her own depression and joy through painting self-portraits. At age 46, she arrived at the debut of her first solo exhibition by ambulance as she was dying prematurely of gangrene.
Today, Frida Kahlo remains one of Mexico’s most storied and talented artists of all time. Despite being plagued by a limp from the polio she suffered from at age 6 and enduring more than a decade with a womanizing, communist husband who cheated on her (including with her own sister), Kahlo’s strength, fearlessness and honesty live on in the many fans and feminists who identify with her values and connect with her artwork.
Though her life may have been inundated with tragedy and despair, who wouldn’t want to be Frida Kahlo for a day? Or maybe even for 15 minutes, per the request of photographer Camila Fontenele de Miranda. The Brazilian photographer has taken it upon herself to probe deeper into Kahlo’s story through her project, “Todos Podem Ser Frida (All Can Be Frida).”
Asking men, women, and children to channel Kahlo’s fervor through powerful poses in the Kahlo’s favorite garb, de Miranda hopes to capture the bravery and free-spirited nature of the artist who left such a deep impression on her during her college art studies.
“First, I fell in love with the colors, but then I found a strong, almost spiritual connection between us,” de Miranda told the Huffington Post. “I started reading a lot about her life and work, until the moment I plucked up courage to make something inspired by her. I felt it was like a mission, because I needed her in my personal and professional life.”
While she launched her project in 2012 photographing only men in order to reflect Kahlo’s exploratory sexuality, she has since included women and children.
“Frida used to wear men’s clothes, and also there were rumors about her bisexuality,” de Miranda said. “I think she was really brave for living with such intensity, fearless of experimenting to be the other.”
Today, thanks to a small team of assistants and makeup artists, the photographer has opened up the experience to everyone so that “All Can Be Frida,” truly.
Images © Camila Fontenele de Miranda