|Published online: January 26, 2015||$US5.00|
The work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) is often read through the simplistic and restrictive lens of her involuntary childlessness. Yet a closer examination reveals that Kahlo adopts a critical stance toward the maternal metaphors that occupy foundational locations on the Mexican cultural map. In a society where the maternal figures of La Malinche (sinner) and La Virgen de Guadalupe (saint) define and confine womanhood, Kahlo provides alternative and revolutionary interpretations through the exploration of her own reproductive geographies. In particular, Kahlo’s dramatic visual representations of miscarriage, abortion, breast-feeding and conception challenge the traditional dichotomy of mother-woman in Mexican culture. Kahlo’s open exploration of woman’s physicality is ground-breaking in and of itself and makes her position as the most significant female artist of the twentieth century even more intriguing. Kahlo’s examination of the woman-mother reproductive landscape effectively breaks the silencing and objectification of women in the advent-grade art world in which she participated and her work continues to speak to questions of body and gender today. In this paper we will locate Kahlo's work within her specific geographic reality and examine how place provides a context for Kahlo's interpretations of womanhood and childbirth. Our work has the potential to undo many of the misreadings of Kahlo's work and life within cultural studies.
|Keywords:||Place, Gender, Culture|
The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 12, Issue 3-4, January 2015, pp.11-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 26, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 895.653KB)).
Ph.D Candidate, Geography Department, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA
Professor, Department of Geography, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA