21 Days with Frida Kahlo

19 | 06 | 2020

A chance to know oneself, intimately, with one of Mexico’s most important artists.

Keeping a diary as an intimate journal is an exercise replete with creative, cognitive, and healing possibilities. The inner voice that speaks to us, that lives inside us, is a basis for building a personal biography—a self-portrait of interiority, and a dialogue with ourselves. Regularly writing down our processes is a therapeutic activity. It leads to self-awareness and, why not, to finding a creative path and a voice for addressing and describing the world.

Many celebrated artists and thinkers have come to the diary as a tool, before and after the execution of their work. Every annotation, drawing, and written word suggests a new latent possibility for life. This allows us to read our ideas of the past, from the present, and to capture them in the future. Some artists’ diaries have even come to be considered works of art all on their own.

Such is the case with that most recognized and important of Mexican painters, Frida Kahlo, and few are unaware of her tremendous legacy. Most have seen at least one of her most famous paintings, always characterized by their autobiographical and dreamlike connotations, magical and intense, and which transmit, unfiltered, every stage of her life. Kahlo was an astonishing, strong, and sensitive woman with an unrivalled pictorial style. And Kahlo kept a diary.

The Diary of Frida Kahlo (El diario de Frida Kahlo),has been published in a facsimile edition by La Vaca Independiente since 1994. Later editions include Intimate Self-Portrait (Íntimo Autorretrato, 1995) and A New Look (Una Nueva Mirada, 2017), a complex work of fragments which, like a puzzle, allows us to little by little assemble and decipher Kahlo’s life and work, her interests, and intimacies of the woman and the artist. Composed of notes, drawings, calligraphy, poems, doodles, and loose words, it’s a capital document drawing together the Kahlo universe, and becoming an essential part of that legacy. Frida Kahlo’s diary was composed over a decade, the last of her life, between 1944 and 1954. It was first discovered and published only 25 years ago. Since then, La Vaca Independiente has seen in the document a space of thousands of doors: possibilities to spread the undisputed artistic value of the artist’s work, and to considering it an excellent vehicle for personal development, underlining the potent strength that art has in painting realities.

With this vision as a central axis, La Vaca Independiente has developed a series of projects and activities based in and around Frida Kahlo’s diary. These include the Intimate Notebook Inspired by Frida Kahlo (Cuaderno íntimo inspirado en Frida Kahlo, 2017), based on neuroscientific studies of personal development and self-awareness. The work suggests the resignification of personal narratives through a series of exercises and reflections for which the starting points and common threads are the content of Kahlo’s diary.

After a comprehensive effort focused on the importance of mediation for personal development and well-being, 21 Days with Frida (21 días con Frida) came together. It’s a series of digital activities accompanied by expert mediators and based on the Intimate Notebook Inspired by Frida Kahlo. The dynamic is intended to provide the tools to obtain emotional well-being and self-knowledge to as many people as possible. This is through the possibility of providing new readings of Kahlo’s ideas, feelings, reflections, images, and the words contained in the journal.

21 Days with Frida adapts to the present day, and the project takes advantage of the multiple tools for dissemination provided by digital technology. It includes remote, weekly meetings, in which content is presented and experiences shared, plus videos of self-guided exercises and a series of daily experiences. These over three weeks (21 days), gradually bring participants closer to the much-needed experience of self-awareness. The initiative is to be part of the cognitive strategy of personal development, as it involves art, neuroscience, and collectivity, in a unique and deeply intimate mix.

The workshop and laboratory are a joint effort by La Vaca Independiente and La Casa Azul de Frida Kahlo. They’re aimed at audiences interested in Kahlo’s life and work, in her intimate relationship with creative expression, and in human development. The dynamic takes place between July 6 and 27, 2020. To register, visit this page and follow the instructions. This sessions will be held in Spanish, and we will have English sessions later on.

Follow the Instagram account @fridakahlodiario for more information and updates!

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