And I am not,
nor will I ever be –
disabled for you.
– from “Proyecto Para Repararme en Tres Etapas, Vol. 2 1931
What do you do when you must lie on your back? When you can’t stand up for yourself – literally. You make the best of it. You create art like you’ve never created before. You think about life and all that it means. You discover yourself beneath all the mess. You celebrate that while you are on your back, you can create your vision, your life, your beauty, and your dedication to believing in yourself above all else. What do you do when you when you are the voice and vision of Frida Kahlo. When you are tasked at breathing through your hero? Or when you find that you have almost too much in common?
Elisabeth Horan’s Self-Portrait (Cephalo Press) finds her moving back and forth between her life and that of Frida Kahlo. Between English and Spanish. Between two worlds that hold the same fears, loves, and weaknesses. Moving between languages compels us to dig deeper into the meanings of each word and how it’s used in context. It’s textured and layered. It’s a self-portrait of a woman in distress, but not overwhelmed.
I’m most definitely not an expert on the world of Frida, but Horan paints a picture that doesn’t necessitate prior knowledge. It’s a familiar world of turbulence and fatigue and self-preservation. It’s the way we become Frida and Horan. It’s the way they become reflections of ourselves, and we stop being simply the spectator.