When I was seventeen, I was informed that I would be crippled and then die if I didn’t have risky surgery. I hadn’t had time to digest this information when I came across the extraordinary visage of Frida, gazing at me from the newspaper. I cut out the story, continually gazing at her face. ‘The Broken Column’ spoke of my own wounds. I couldn’t believe that a woman from another era had captured my experience. She was a storyteller of the highest order, unafraid of revealing her pain. She touched death with each stroke of her brush. All the things we commonly run from, she embraced. I had found my heroine.
When I heard that Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s work was coming to the Art Gallery of NSW, I could hardly breathe. I had waited twenty years for this moment. I took my daughter, and she was as entranced as I. She knew how much Frida has meant to her mum! We stood in silence at each painting, holding hands.
Frida inspired me to paint my body cast. Rather than viewing it with disdain, my former cocoon was kept out of respect.
Frida was unafraid of confronting what would ordinarily remain hidden. She paved the way for a legion of young women. I remain in her debt.