Painting the painters

Renowned Mexican artist Carmen Avalos has been inspired by The Two Fridas project to create a new painting. Here her work is revealed for the first time...

Alas Para Volar (Wings to Fly), 2020, Carmen Avalos. 120 x 100 cm, oil on canvas.

The quotes from Frida Kahlo featured in the painting are: Feet, why do I need them? I have wings to fly; I paint my reality; Live your life; and The Two Fridas.

“It was a great challenge for me, being an abstract painter and trying to paint something symbolic… Everything is possible when there is a love for work. Well, for me it is not work, I love to paint.”

Carmen Avalos

What Frida Kahlo means to me

by Carmen Avalos

To speak of Frida Kahlo is to speak of one of the most important painters of the 20th century. Icon of Mexican painting, she is purposeful and risky in her approach, that led her to cross borders with her art.

Admired for the strength of her brushstrokes and use of colour, her work comunicated the physical pain of her damaged body. She made this a constant in her painting. Yet Frida managed to transform her pain and suffering into extraordinary paintings with a language that is uniquely hers.

Frida lived folk art and folklore, in a very personal way, every day. By adopting the dress and hairstyle so typical of the people of Mexico, she broke the customs and traditions of her time.

Author of 150 paintings, mainly self-portraits, she portrayed suffering in order to survive, based on her own life. Frida defended the causes of the indigenous people, which for her were a symbol of women who worked and suffered.

The pain she had was constant, yet that was not an impediment to continue painting with extraordinary passion and dedication. She painted most of her works lying prostrate in her bed. A phrase that always attracted me to her: “They thought I was a surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted my dreams, I painted my own reality.”

She also wrote poems in her diaries and phrases related to her life, which later became popular. In her paintings, she reflects a large part of her ideals, and has today become a symbol of feminism.

An admired woman, self-possessed and empowered, she was cheerful and charismatic and loved to sing. One of her favorite pieces was ‘Cielito Lindo’ – a phrase that appears in several of her works.

Frida Kahlo is rightly considered as the highest representative of Mexican art. My personal favourite Frida Kahlo works are: The Two Fridas, Diego and I, Without Hope, and The Broken Column.

Carmen Avalos

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