To Frida, the stubborn flower who broke out from the asphalt sidewalk


I never thought I’d be able to really see your works in person. Though I’ve been planning to go to Mexico to visit your lovely blue house, I never thought I’d see your works that early and of all places in Paris. Yet, suddenly I found myself there, falling in line for more than an hour beside Musée de l’Orangerie, my hands and face freezing in the low temperature of 12 degrees, skipped lunch and monstrously hungry, legs tired from the day’s walk around the city, full of disbelief and anticipation.

I was speechless when I saw the first portrait that you painted. It was indeed so very you (how I knew you); fierce, wise and powerful. It was so alive like you! Full of guts and knowing and witty remarks.

I looked into your eyes and it’s as if you were telling me “You are here because you’re such a stubborn, spunky little thing like me. Kudos!”

I was the cardboard fan girl before I saw your works in person. But going through the exhibit, especially after watching the videos about you and your photographs in black and white, slowly I’ve come to realize how human you were.

Your greatness came from living a life of daring and unapologetic honesty.

You’ve got the talent but that talent won’t create much without the character and honesty you’ve mixed it with.

You’ve turned your life’s pains into works of art – all beautiful and sharp. You’ve dealt with loss and loneliness with both the toughness and tenderness of a bull. That is why your works are all full of life. They are bleeding not just with colors but with all your passions, love, sorrows, hopes, failures and fighting spirit.

An artist told me my artworks were like yours. Though that was of course very flattering for me, I must say I never copied your style. It’s been my style even before I knew you existed. Just like you, I began painting as a way to cope up with my isolated situation. You had an accident and were in bed rest when you started painting while I was in the process of healing from depression. Painting was the only thing that liberated me from my mind. I didn’t have to think at all when I painted. I was able to be fully present and therefore alive.

One of my very fond memories of you (yes, it’s as if I actually spent some time with you) was when you said you’d rather hang out in the market in Mexico than in the galleries in New York. You despised all those pretentious elites. Same here, girl! I’d rather spend time with the people and share my art with them than imprison my works in air-conditioned galleries where people have to pay to enter.

Frida, I am learning to be who I feel in my soul I should be. Although it has its own glamour, I must say this entire journey has been fucking crazy and lonely sometimes many times. So many people just couldn’t comprehend the things that I do and (most especially) those that I don’t. I teach myself to refrain from the impulse to explain and judge others.

I wish I could talk to you. I wonder what you’re going to tell me. Oh well, maybe we’ll just end up getting drunk or high, speaking loudly, laughing and dancing in the night streets.

Life could be tough all she wants but we could always transform each pain into things of life and beauty. You’ve left a legacy on earth and now you’re partying wherever your fiery soul is! I can hear you roar in laughter. Just like you said, wherever you may be right now, you are never going back. It must be awesome where you are. Catch up with you again soon. xoxo

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