Frida Kahlo

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"The Little Deer", by Frida Kahlo, caught the attention right away. her love of nature and the world as one of her primary sources of inspiration. This painting is one of the many symbolic representations of Frida's naturalist persona. Frida, as the deer, is a creature of nature. She's innocent, and she's organic. She looks poised and proud as an animal, and although the representation is surreal and strange-feeling, it conveys a sense of emotion and imaginative thought that makes it enjoyable to look at and ponder. One of the noticeable parts of this picture is the cluster of arrows piercing the deer in various places. Many people know that Frida's injuries lasted throughout her entire life, and were never quite solved or figured out, even decades after the accident. She never fully recovered from that accident alone, and from those injuries more and more horrible diseases and discomforts revealed themselves. The first arrow on the far left is the one which has drawn the most blood from the deer. Its represents the bus accident that started all of her problems. It has hit her in the neck and spinal column, which is right where Frida's most profound injury occurred with the bus. Each other arrow that hits her after that is a product of the first, but still hurt her in other ways. A total of 9 arrows pierced Frida in this painting, possibly representing each of her different injuries that resulted from her accident; the painting was completed in 1946, during which time Frida had undergone a bone-graft operation, and was subsequently administered large doses of morphine. Much of the content of this painting may be perceived as being the product of a 'trip' or some sort of crazy hallucinogenic experience. Rightly so; this piece is a biproduct of a hallucinatory experience, but not exactly the same type of 'trip' you may hear the creative product of when you blast Hendrix on the radio; Frida's various medical predicaments brought these experiences into her reality, and her work strongly reflects this. Not only are the arrows in this piece direct symbols of pain and suffering; they're also man made, and subsequently, artificial. They are built to kill and meant to harm, and they're also meant to destroy the natural world that Frida was so fond of. Frida decided on arrows because all her life, her pains and injuries resulted from the carelessness and brutality of certain people, or the way in which they lived. The bus that injured her was a product of what many considered to be poor human engineering. However, this is up for debate, especially the debate concerning the social value of Frida's paintings. Although Frida loved people, this painting shows the possible dark side of society that took a toll on her life. Hints of Frida detesting the artificial life promoted by many other personalities in Mexico and in the U.S during her time are also evident in this painting, and many others by the artist. Frida's deer persona is surrounded by dying, or dead, trees. Trees obviously represent natural beauty, but I think they can have deeper meaning also. They are towering, intimidating but strong and comforting in times of insecurity. Trees also give off oxygen, and have limbs-- limbs that resemble human arms; human bones. Frida struggled with the maintaining of her limbs throughout her life, suffering from numerous broken bones, and later in her life she even needed to have half of her leg amputated. If one notes these symbolic values of trees, then the inclusion of old withered trees in a painting leave much left up for discussion. Frida wanted to show these trees as symbols for her bad experiences with artificiality, and that even though those experiences may be dead and long-gone, they are still standing and may never leave her conscience. In the foreground, we see a large branch that is still flourishing with life, although it has been cut from its tree limb. The Frida-deer is hurdling this branch like it is an obstacle, but not...
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