Thursday, 22 December 2011

Frida and Xochimilco - (the floating gardens)

A visit today to Fridas house, the blue house.  Frida Kahlo was the daughter of a german descended father and Indian mother, unusually but because of her fathers background and his role in Government Frida was sent to College in Mexico to study Medicine. 

She had suffered from polio at an early age.  One day on the way to college (at 18) an accident happened on the bus she was on and a pole speared her stomach, leg, back and pelvis (she ended up having 39 operations on her back). She took up painting as a kind of therapy while she spent two years recovering.  By now Diego Rivera was an established artist and 20 years her senior.  He was commissioned by the government to provide art to important buildings, it was through this that he met Fridas father, who asked would he provide Friday with lessons.  It is here they fell in love. 

They divorced and remarried three times, having a volatile relationship, (including a break up when he had an affair with her sister).  When Fridas mother died, Frida and Diego moved to the home she had grown up in to support her father, when he died Diego bought the shares from Fridas two sisters so he and Frida could settle.  Diego painted the house blue (Fridas favourite colour) to cheer up Frida after another stay in hospital. 

Frida only sold two works during her life, her art only being appreciated after her death.  I was surprised at the access to the house, and the personal items on display, including her studio (that Diego built on top of the house , with large windows so she would be warm, her bedroom built for when she was ill (that includes her actual death mask) and the corset that she had to wear her whole life to keep her back straight …  fascinating …  ( the bue house )

Just as fascinating was my visit to Xochimilco ( Floating Gardens pics) this is how the whole of Mexico city used to be, it is hundreds of manmade islands, over 100km, providing floating homes, businesses, food, gardens and greenhouses to the people that live there and also wider mexico.  It is a huge spot for Mexicans to go to for celebrations, weddings, birthdays etc ..  and in recent years the odd western tourist too .. although I was there 4 hours and only saw locals … food is cooked on boats and they pull alongside to sell to you, musicians on boats who pull alongside to play to you …  Full of colour and traditional way of Aztec living. Based on communist principles all money made is pooled into a society and equally shared. The area was not drained and was actually protected by Cortes as he was reliant on it for food.
That'll do for now


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