Coyoacán is a quiet neighborhood in Mexico City marked by colorful houses. On a corner of Londres Street, stands what looks like, from the outside, an unassuming house, remarkable at first glance for its lovely blue color. It is La Casa Azul, the house where the Mexican muralist Diego Riverra and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo lived together as husband and wife.
Frida Kahlo is one of the most famous Latin American artists, perhaps the most famous female artist in the world.
Most people know her for her self-portraits and life of physical pain. As a child, Kahlo endured a bout of polio that left one of her legs shorter than the other. At age eighteen, she suffered a traffic accident in which her ribs and several bones were fractured and resulted in lifelong physical pain.
Kahlo paid great attention to traditional Mexican art, using it as inspiration for her work and incorporating images of the Mexican house and domestic life in her pieces. She embraced the traditional folk art of her country and even collected pieces including pottery by other artists with her husband Diego Riverra, which can be viewed in the kitchen of La Casa Azul.
Most interestingly to me, Kahlo painted portraits of herself, emphasizing the female form and sexuality. Her choice to make herself the art shows how Kahlo rather than rejecting the societal roles of women, which were limited-in-scope at the time, uplifted and embraced them. Instead of turning away from painting the everyday aspects of domestic life which was then women’s domain, Kahlo built her art around it.