Ode to Frida Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 2018.
Courtesy of JONATHAN FERRARA GALLERY, New Orleans
Frida Kahlo, Untitled [Self-portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird], 1940. Oil on canvas mounted to board. Nickolas Muray Collection of Mexican Art, 66.6.
Frida Kahlo, like many artists in history, used symbols to communicate with her viewers. Rather than painting multiple narrative scenes, she used objects, animals, clothing, and more to convey her message. In her untitled self-portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird, Kahlo is sharing a message about her personal strength. She depicts herself with a thorn necklace which pierces her skin and is adorned with a lifeless hummingbird. The bird, the lively hummingbird in particular, represents freedom and life. By showing the hummingbird in a deceased state along with piercing thorns she is communicating her personal pain, but her controlled expression and straight forward pose let the viewer see Kahlo’s strength and resilience against her pain.
With their modified portrait, E2 are expressing a similar story of endurance. The suffering of all women can be interpreted through their response to Kahlo’s work. Even with the absence of the thorns, it is clear that their sitter, and women around the world, persist through pain and suffering while presenting a steadfast face to the world.