Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo! Here’s 14 of the Artist’s Most Inspirational Quotes on Life, Love and Laughter
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Happy birthday, Frida Kahlo! The painter, best known for her self portraits, was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico, the same city where she died shortly after her 47th birthday in 1954.
To celebrate the esteemed artist, we’ve rounded up a collection of quotes from Forever Frida: A Celebration of the Life, Art, Loves, Words, and Style of Frida Kahlo,out July 9, by Kathy Cano-Murillo, who founded a nine-member Latina art collective called The Phoenix Fridas.
Read on and for some of Kahlo’s best quotes on life, love and laughter.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
“I was born a bitch, I was born a painter.”
“I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.”
“Perhaps it is expected that I should lament about how I have suffered living with a man like Diego. But I do not think that the banks of a river suffer because they let the river flow, nor does the earth suffer because of the rains, nor does the atom suffer for letting its energy escape. To my way of thinking, everything has its natural compensation.”
“I don’t want you to think like I do. I just want you to think.”
“It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.”
“Can one invent verbs? I want to tell you one: I sky you, so my wings extend so large to love you without measure.”
“It is not worthwhile to leave this world without having had a little fun in life.”
“I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of ‘madness.’ Then: I’d paint; pain, love and tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say: ‘Poor thing, she’s crazy!’ (Above all I would laugh at my own stupidity.) I would build my world which while I lived, would be in agreement with all the worlds. The day, or the hour, or the minute that I lived would be mine and everyone else’s—my madness would not be an escape from ‘reality.’”
“I love you more than my own skin and even though you don’t love me the same way, you love me anyways, don’t you? And if you don’t, I’ll always have hope that you do, and I’m satisfied with that. Love me a little. I adore you.”
“I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.”
“There is nothing more precious than laughter.”
“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”
“My blood is a miracle that, from my veins, crosses the air in my heart into yours.”
Frida Kahlo’s exhaustively documented crossover from artist to pop culture icon isn’t happenstance. The painter meticulously crafted her own image on a par with Cleopatra. If she were alive today, she’d probably be teaching a branding class at Harvard. Now it’s America’s turn to see how, and, more important, why she did it.
Some of the contents of the home she shared with her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera — known as La Casa Azul (Blue House) in Mexico City — will be accessible for the first time in the United States in “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, from Feb. 8 to May 12. Their belongings were to be locked away until 15 years after Rivera’s death, according to his instructions, but the task of unsealing and inventorying them didn’t happen until much later, in 2004. This is the biggest stateside show devoted to Kahlo and a considerably expanded iteration of last year’s exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The sweeping survey adds greater insight into Kahlo’s collecting habits through works culled from the museum’s vault as well as the New York chapter of her timeline, and includes works lent by local institutions and galleries. The supplementary mix of Mesoamerican objects, one of the many types of art the couple favored, with her paintings and photographs divulge her yearning for Mexico’s indigenous and agrarian culture and her conflicts with capitalism, especially in the income inequality she witnessed during her travels in the United States.
Visitors will better understand Kahlo’s skill in searing her likeness into the public imagination, even if it meant dangling monkeys around her head and cultivating her most recognizable physical traits — a statement ’stache and unibrow. Neither her disabilities from polio and a bus accident, nor her frequent relapses of pain deterred Kahlo. By the time she died at the age of 47 in 1954, she left behind a public persona that is still being mined well into the 21st century; today she has more than 800,000
“People have an insatiable curiosity with her, and this presentation is a rare opportunity to see how she built her identity,” said Catherine Morris, a senior curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, who organized the Brooklyn Museum’s version of the show with Lisa Small, senior curator of European Art. Here, they share some of their insights.