Translator: M. Ouellette

The daughter of a Mexican mother and German father, Frida Kahlo was born in Coyoacán, Mexico on July 7, 1910.

She attended the Escuela Normal de Maestros and graduated from the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria. She dreamed of becoming a doctor until a terrible accident destroyed her body, forcing her to lay in bed for many months and receive painful treatments, causing her to stop studying medicine.

In the midst of her dramatic convalescence, her iron will and attachment to life led her to become extensively self-taught in the arts and the mysteries of painting. She became an artist and took advantage of her knowledge to teach classes at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in spite of her physical limitations.

Her first exhibitions demonstrated her talent, which she continued to develop and which culminated in a magnificent work, turning her into one of the most famous painters of her type worldwide.

She impressed upon her work all the pain, feeling, and sensitivity that characterized her life. The memory of Frida is inextricably linked to the great muralist Diego Rivera, who was her husband, lover, confidant, and greatest critic and admirer. In spite of a tempestuous marital relationship, art united them until the end of her life, on July 13, 1954.

This month, Mexico pays homage to those who hold a seat of honor in the plastic arts of the 20th century. I am also joining in this commemoration since Frida was a source of inspiration and presence in my patchwork art.

Frida Kahlo narrated her life through painted images. The painting of this great artist is like no one else’s. As Diego Rivera, her husband, pointed out one day, she “is the only example of the history of art, of someone who tore open her breast and heart to tell the biological truth of what she feels in them.”

Most of her work is unknown; it is held in private collections and by friends. The value of it grows each day.

Translated by: M. Ouellette

21 July 2014

File photo

A farmer friend of mine, whose name I will keep to myself, was rather confused and astonished by an article published in the newspaper Granma on 21 October of this year, which mentioned the notable decline in the livestock herds in our fields (22,980 head as of the end of August this year) due to theft and the illegal slaughter of animals. He sent me the following verse:

Neither fat, nor skinny, nor crazy.

If you look under your bed,

you’ll find a lost cow.

It’s neither skinny nor fat,

nor running crazy.

Seek it on your patio,

or maybe in the kitchen.

In the belly of your children,

or that of your beloved wife.

There is where it should be,

since they took it away.

You raised it and cared for it

and it’s kept by the State!

Granma also noted that lack of control is the common factor. They say that the lack of personnel to check the herds in distant provinces favors disorder since there are already a number of ranchers that operate freely.

Wouldn’t it be better, as the farmer who sent me his poem said, if we first meet the necessity of bringing this food, which until 1959 was a staple of our diet, to each family’s house? According to CENCOP (Center for livestock control), there are not enough officials to check the more than 26,000 landless livestock owners. From this group comes the increased number of animals loose on the streets or grazing on improper land, exposed to accidents or provoking them, as if inviting crime.

Translated by: M. Ouellette

November 17 2011