The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo
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Teacher's Guide
Parent's Guide

Parent's Guide

The Influence of Battle
(especially appropriate for grades 7-12)


The Mexican Revolution played a key role in Frida's life and art. She lived through it and experienced many aspects of the war firsthand. In fact, she and her mother tended the wounded in their home.

Discuss what impact the revolution had on Frida, her family, and on Mexico. (You may choose to watch the segment of the documentary which deals with the Mexican Revolution running from approximately 10-15 minutes into the film.) Talk about some of the close-up experiences Frida had with the battle and how it changed the Mexican political and social landscape.

For background and to further frame your child's understanding of the time period use the resources below along with the following discussion points:
  1. Prior to General Diaz’s reign, there was a significant gap between the poor and the wealthy; this schism grew under Diaz’s leadership.

  2. The poorer people began to lose a political voice, and some dissension became evident, including some opposition to Diaz and several strikes, led by Francisco I. Madero.

  3. In 1910, Diaz was forced to hold an election: Madero rallied voters. Diaz puts Madero in prison, but once released, Madero continues his battle against Diaz.

  4. Other figures emerged — Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata — who fought against segments of the Mexican army and took over regions they covered. Diaz resigns.

  5. A series of political shifts occurred in Mexico’s leadership: Zapata took over the presidency. Mexico broke into many factions; guerilla units destroyed property; Madero was executed. Pancho Villa rampaged through the north. Various factions fought for presidential control. In essence, the revolution.
Ask your child the following questions:
  • What impact did the Mexican Revolution have on Frida?

  • What are the specific events that stood out in Frida's memory?

  • In what ways did the Mexican Revolution have an impact on Frida's art? For example, the end of the revolution brought great social change to Mexico. How were these changes incorporated into her paintings?
Revolution, wars and acts of terrorism have great impact on the world, and where we live. Think about recent wars and related events that have occurred in the United States - such as 9/11 and the war in Iraq. Or, consider the threats of homeland terrorism.

Ask your child to consider the following:
  • What is the impact of such events on you, your family, your community, and the country? How would you convey the impact and your feelings associated with such events in a painting or other type of artwork?

  • What is the value of using art as a venue for expressing feelings and political views with regard to revolution, wars and acts of terrorism?
Once you have discussed the above questions, jointly select and create an art form that would best depict these reflections… suggested art forms: a poem, a song, a cartoon, even a pencil sketch.

Optional Activity A: Other Artists

Take a look at other artists whose work, like Frida's, was partially influenced by the Mexican Revolution. The group includes: Diego Rivera, Jose Guadalupe Posada , David Alfaro Siqueiro, Jose Clemente Orozco, and Dr. Atl. How do these artists depict the revolution?

Optional Activity B: A Timeline

Illustrate scenes that represent what occurred during the Mexican Revolution. Or, create an illustrated timeline. Use Frida's journal entries, and paintings, work of other artists, and online resources to provide drama for the scenes. You can choose to depict scenes of more recent revolutions or wars.


This page offers a cultural timeline of the Mexican Revolution.

History of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920
With photos and explanation, this page offers a history of the 10-year Mexican Revolution, with details of the fighting, the Mexican migration to the U.S., and the U.S. reaction to migration and immigration laws.

Mexico: From Empire to Revolution
This comprehensive Flash and HTML site offers an extensive online history of the Mexican Revolution, with a wealth of photos, text and descriptions to fully engage and enlighten the user.

Mexican Revolution
This online encyclopedia entry gives a brief history of the Mexican Revolution, with links to other descriptive encyclopedia entries.

Five Artists of the Mexican Revolution
This online lesson plan teaches students about artists and leaders in the Mexican Revolution, including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Posada, David Alafaro Siquieros, Porfirio Diaz, Francisco Madero, Poncho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, Venustiano Carranza and Jose Guadalupe Posada.

Brenner, Anita. The Wind That Swept Mexico. University of Texas: 1984.
Fuentes, Carlos. Diary of Frida Kahlo. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1998.
Krauze, Enrique. Mexico: Biography of Power. Perennial: New York, 1998.

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