| 43 Thestoryof FridaKahlo, at least the onethatmostpeopleknow, starts withthealmost fatal crashof abus that broke her body and marked thebeginningof a lifeof challenges. Her real story, however, beganmuchearlier. Born in an impoverished suburb of Mexico City in the July of 1907, in her early childhood shewas left lame after su eringchildhood paralysis, ensuring she grewupwithpains and became di erent. Her shorter leg perhaps meant that she couldn’t run, but she stile rode bicycles, swam and swung from trees. Energetic and rebellious, in secondary school she wore trousers and cut her hair short. With her strength and bravery she earned her father’s respect and support, becoming his only educated child. And thenshewas involved ina serious tra caccident, themoneyforher schooling was spent on treatment, and the 19-yearold Frida devoted herself to the only thing she’d learned during her months of lying immobile – painting. Over the following three decades, she produced a relatively small but consistent collectionofpaintings. Her opus comprises 143 paintings, 55 of which are self-portraits. Through personal examinations of herself and her identity, she consistently, againandagain, paintedwhat she felt: her constant strugglewith physical pain. As if she hadn’t already endured enough su ering and sacri ce, Diego Rivera, a then living legend of the Mexican Renaissance, enteredher life.Though their relationshipwas turbulent andemotionally draining, she remained with him until the endof her life. Strippingdown to thedeepest intimacy, through her canvases we see physical andemotional painexpressed ina completely di erent way than that of her contemporaries, Mexican muralists. Frida’sownappearancebecameas fascinatingasher canvases. She formedastrikingandpowerful look for herself, basedon folk costumes andoversized jewellery that becameheruniform. Shemovedaway from her trousersandmasculinestyleofdressing and opted courageously for dresses worn by Tijuana peasants. She plaited her hair into braids wrapped around her head and remained faithful to that samehairstyle for the rest of her life. Flowers and ribbons in her hair, as well as red lipstick, became her trademark. She gained recognition for her work at the very beginning of her career from French poet and co-founder of Surrealism André Breton. However, regardless of how surreal her works seemed, she never painteddreams. She painted life. Her own. She mercilessly brought to life on canvas everything she’dendured - abroken spine, awoundonher leg, abrokenheart, herself dead, blood on sheets... Her self-portraits grosslyoveremphasisedher shortcomings, hairs on her face and her fused eyebrows. Herpicturescannotbeclassi ed inany knownartisticdirection. Herworks cannot beanalysedwithout familiaritywithher life. Shepainted to liveand lived topaint. However, collectively, themajorityof her paintings represent Mexican folk art, mythology, religion, and pre-Columbian primitive art.This represents apreviouslyunseen fusion. She was good enough to be able to be di erent. At an exhibition in Paris she met the then crème de la crème of the artworld, while her paintingswere admiredby Joan Miró, Kandinsky andDuchamp, andPicasso evengiftedher turtleshell earrings that she oftenwore. De ance became her lifestyle. She didn’t allow her broken body to hamper her, nor did she allow Diego to break her. In hospital, wearing make-up and with painted nails, she painted a corset, the armour that held her body. Over the course of three years she changed 28 corsets made of plaster, plastic, iron and leather. She transferred all of her misery to canvas, out of despair she entered into relationships with men and women. She spent hours combing her hair and dressing. She made a brand of her look. Beautiful, fun andwitty, in a completely surreal life and environment. She created a theatre scene around herself. Shewas stubborn to theend. Shedied in the 47th year of her life, just ten days after her four-hour participation in a street protest that she attended despite being banned from doing so by her doctor. She achieved recognition andwas valuedduring her own lifetime, which is a privilege that few great artists could boast of having achieved. Nakon njene smrti Dijego Rivera je porodičnu kuću u Meksiko Sitiju pretvorio u muzej Following her death, Diego Rivera converted the family house in Mexico City into a museum