adelaide damoah,  frida kahlo,  modern art

Love in Art and Frida Kahlo. A Personal Perspective.

Love is… Love, such a simple word, yet a word which has so many different connotations for different people. A word that has fascinated humans for a millennia and inspired so much beautiful art all over the world.
Love, passion, desire, lust, longing. Before I even understood what those things were, Frida Kahlo taught me how one could use art to externalise them, to express them in a visual way. I remember studying her work at GCSE level, at about the age of 15. I was fascinated and astounded by her ability to punctuate all of her life experiences, the painful and the joyful in such a beautiful way through her work. She was a woman of great passion with many lovers, both male and female, but the one person who always showed up in her work was the great love of her life, Diego Rivera. She was his “chicuita” (little one) and he was her frog prince. Their turbulent yet deeply affectionate and passionate relationship influenced a lot of her work. For me, some of her best pieces are those which are about him or their relationship in some way. Those pieces speak deeply about their relationship which was so much a part of her life and her being.
Diego and I – 1949 Frida Kahlo
Consciously or unconsciously, Kahlo’s way of depicting that love has had a profound effect on the way in which I chose to depict or express my own feelings about my personal relationships.
Frida Kahlo Diego on My Mind. Self portrait as Tehuana. 1943
During my first relationship, in my late teens, my boyfriend asked me what it felt like to be in love with him. We thought we were deeply in love you see! Mainly because my father was not a fan of the idea of his daughter entering into a relationship, but that is another story. Forbidden love, always inspires such exaggerated intense emotions. We thought we were a modern day Romeo and Juliet, well at least I did! We would meet in secret, but my dad always found out. Oh the drama! It is funny when I think back on it now, but at the same time, what I came up with astounded him and me, as I did not realise my imagination could produce what it did. I made a painting of my own stomach. Looking at the painting, it was as if my own hands were opening up my belly to reveal a head with two laughing mouths and wings for ears about to fly out of the belly which was heaving with the fire of our passion! There were two humans facing each other, joined at the head, arms and feet representing myself and my forbidden lover. I still have the painting. My description of it probably sounds ghastly to some, but he loved it and he kept it until we broke up, when he kindly gave it back to me. Fast forward to the first real love I experienced as an adult and every significant relationship I have had since then, has been punctuated by some piece of art work. This was not something I consciously made an effort to do. If someone moved me to the point where I felt passionate love for them, I was always moved to draw, to paint, it was almost a compulsion. It was as if I had to. Not always something abstract, like the first one, but always something which represented how I felt about them.
Love. 2005. Adelaide Damoah. Abstract series
Love drove me to produce the majority of the works in my abstract series of works. Obsessive love, rejection, pain and passion inspired me to produce the dark Black Lipstick series.
Danad. 2008. Abstract series
Black Lipstick number 5. 2008. Adelaide Damoah
Love, one of the most powerful, mystical and puzzling of all human emotions, can drive people to acts of compassion and selflessness when reciprocated, but when lost, or unrequited, can drive seemingly insane acts of obsession and completely reckless behaviour. It is amazing to me that when channelled, this same emotion can inspire some of the most beautiful art known to man kind.
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