Exploring Kahlo's Place in the World

Activity Steps:

Many artists express their personal identities by portraying the things they love. In this activity you will examine the theme of love in Kahlo's art.

1. Brainstorm:
Brainstorm meanings for the following quotation: '[Kahlo's painting] becomes the narrative of her own life, her own face, that she gives to you over and over again.' Artist Amalia Mesa-Bains Share your responses with your classmates.
2. Explore:
Visit the screen 'The Faces of Frida.' Read the text and click on the video in the center of the screen: 'Amalia Mesa Bains.' As you view this video, record your thoughts, ideas and responses. Then look at the two screens of Kahlo's self-portraits and the photographs documenting her life.
3. Analyze:
Analyze Kahlo's identity as a woman and as an artist. Discuss the following questions with your classmates: What is self-representation? How did Kahlo's self-representation change over time? How would you describe Kahlo's style? Why do you think Kahlo's self-representation changed over time? What did Kahlo love? What did she value? How is this evident in her work? How does her art represent what was important to her?
4. Design:
Design a memory box that captures Kahlo's identity and what she loved. A memory box is something to store treasured items that capture important events in a person's life. Think about the materials, colors, shape and texture of the box. You can use combinations of words, images, drawings and photographs. Use Kahlo's portraits as inspiration. Your design should reflect Kahlo's distinctive style as an artist. You can also choose to design a memory box that reflects your own identity and the things you love. You may want to include photographs, letters, e-mails, fabrics, poems, sketches, and objects that are important to you. Think of a theme for your memory box. After you come up with your initial design idea, share it with a classmate to get feedback, and then create your memory box.
5. Present:
Share your finished work with the class. Talk about what you liked about each memory box, and how well it gave you a sense of what Kahlo loved or what you love.
6. Reflect:
Write a paragraph describing how you created your memory box and the ways in which it expresses who you are and what you love. Place this paragraph inside the box for your classmates to read.