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mexico - frida kahlo

For my second Meixcan dish I have decided to recreate one of Frida Kahlo's famous self-portraits. Kahlo is considered one of Mexico's greatest artists and her personal image is easily recognized around the world. 


To make this dish I used food supplied by Lola's Mexican Cuisine, a beloved local Mexican restaurant. My design is composed of tortillas, black beans, chicken mole negro, pico de gallo, corn, watermelon salad and pickled red onion.


Frida Kahlo lived an incredible life, faced many tragedies, and met those challenges with strength and vulnerability. She was a political activist, a member of the Mexican communist party, and fiercely anti-capitalist. Kahlo famously partnered with another well-known Mexican artist/activist, Diego Rivera.  

As a painter, she became known for brutally honest self-portraits that gave insight into her psyche following moments of great personal adversity. Over the course of her life Frida Kahlo underwent more than 30 medical operations, and most of her work relates to her consequent suffering. They also chronicle her turbulent relationship with Rivera, and the pain she suffered at his infidelity and her inability to bear a child. Themes of loss, infetrility, and alienation dominate her work. 

Frida increasingly embraced her Mexican heritage, casting aside European influences and expressing herself with colorful traditional costumes and hairstyles. As seen in this portrait with her floral crown, recognizably containing several yellow dahlias. Her beauty was unconventional in some ways and unapologetic in its portrayal. It's this attitude that leads to the reproduction of her image as a representation of feminism.

While Frida Kahlo did willingly and consistently place herself in public view, she is documented as doing so as an authentic and passionate individual. Given her feelings towards capitalism, it's worth examining how exactly her work has been appropriated since her death. I speculate that she would not condone the many ways her image has been commodified. Cheap recreations of her face on phone cases, tote bags, shoes etc. certainly seem to be misguided attempts to represent her and all she stood for...but, not all art aficionados agree. Some say she would be delighted to see her image of a strong, Mexican woman create such a ripple effect. That her appearance in it of itself is a feminist statement. Well, we will never know how she would feel. But we can certainly agree that the impact of her artwork and story has been extraordinary. 

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