Elizabeth Kennen – Frida Kahlo’s Garden (SOLD)


Initiator Artist: Elizabeth Kennen
Artwork Title: Frida Kahlo’s Garden (SOLD)
Size: 20″x24″ framed
Medium: Watercolor
Price: $500

Responder Author: Nannette Rundle Carroll
Writing Title: In Frida Kahlo’s Garden
Size: 11″x17″


Sixty years after you left us, the entire world is invited into your garden. Did you ever imagine Casa Azul–the source of your life and art–would become a museum to keep your story alive? That this lush courtyard, your refuge from suffering and inspiration for immortality, would be replicated internationally? So people who cannot tour this haven can smell your gardenias and prick their fingers on the tall Organ Pipe Cacti?

Here in your garden, I see you washing your feet in the shallow reflecting pool, rinsing away his infidelities with your sister and countless other women. Your tears mixing with the water spouting from the fountain. 

You stare at the pyramid he built, adorned with Indigenous Mexican art your ancestors shaped. Does the clay-fired dog statuette make you smile? Do you ever smile? In your many self-portraits, your unibrow appears pinched in a frown and your lips tightly drawn. Were you depicting your chronic pain and romantic torment? 

Here within the cobalt-blue walls of your oasis, did you not foresee that you would emerge from the shadow of the great muralist? That you would earn fame, not just as his wife, but for your own art? 

Your feet ripple the cool water in the mosaic pool, distorting the image of the frog in the tile floor. Frog–what you called Diego. The corners of your mouth curve up. He encouraged your genius and helped you embrace yourself as a painter. Even before the eclectic group of artists, writers and photographers in San Francisco energized you to become a serious artist.

A decade later you returned to California, newly divorced. And shortly thereafter remarried Rivera in San Francisco City Hall, despite the turbulence in your marriage, which you had to know would recur.

Was he as upset with your dalliances as you were with his? While in your garden, did Trotsky craft a crown of bougainvillea for your raven hair? Did your other famous lovers treasure the dahlias’ showy blooms and hear your parrots sing? When you picked up and cuddled the baby monkey that played among the plants, did you think about the son you longed for? 

In your loving moments with Diego in your garden, did you feed him bittersweet pomegranate seeds? Wipe orange juice from his chin? Did you share watermelon and savor its sweetness, like the sweet part of your love?

Why did you both paint watermelons as your last works? Colorful lives entwined to the end.

Your brilliant art endures, as does your vibrant garden.

“Viva la Vida.” Long Live Life!

Copyright © 2024 by Nannette Rundle Carroll

Out of stock