The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo
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In This Section:
Teacher's Guide
Parent's Guide

Teacher's Guide

Discussion Questions
The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo offers viewers an intimate look at the colorful and complex artist and individual. It also presents valuable insight into Mexico's culture and history; the emergence and impact of art movements and styles (surrealism, abstraction); and the conflicting yet contiguous mix of politics, social unrest, and cross-cultural elements that influenced art and artists' experiences during the time Frida lived and worked. The following discussion questions touch on all of these concepts.

  1. What life experiences most influenced Frida Kahlo's artwork (i.e., family, her accident, personal relationships, the Mexican Revolution, living in New York and Mexico, teaching, and her education)?

  2. What were the most challenging aspects of Frida's life? The most positive? How did these play into her artistic life? In what ways did she balance these aspects of her life?

  3. Which artists and art styles inspired Frida's paintings? How did she make her style unique, though influenced by others?

  4. How did Frida's painting style change over time? For example, when did she primarily begin to paint self-portraits? What did they typically depict? Why did Frida choose herself as the principle subject of her art? What does this choice suggest about Frida, in terms of her character, outlook on life and personal experiences?

  5. What political, religious, cultural and social references are embedded in her work? To what extent was Frida committed to these elements, beyond her artistry?

  6. Identify the ways Frida demonstrated her individuality (i.e., dress, artistic style, lifestyle, peers). Determine why Frida chose to present herself in these fashions (i.e., political and social statements, rebelliousness, artistic license, and personal and aesthetic style).

  7. If asked what type of person Frida Kahlo was, how would you describe her? Discuss perceptions about the artist with your peers.

  8. Explain the relationship between Frida and Diego and the forces that both drew them together and pulled them apart. Assess how Frida might have fared as an artist and as an individual without Diego in her life.

  9. In your opinion, what largely drew attention to Frida - her artwork or lifestyle or relationships? She is now a recognized and valued artist, but during her lifetime, Frida's paintings did not get much attention. To what do you attribute this late recognition and current popularity of her artwork?
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