Symbols of Mother Dead and Archetypal

Frida painted how she imagined her birth in 'My Birth' (1932) created after her own mother's death, where she illuminates the suffering she endured in her relationship with her mother. In this painting, the baby is birthing herself from a dead mother, alone and unaided. On the wall is an image of the Virgin of Sorrows pierced by thorns, bleeding and weeping. This image seems to hold birth and death simultaneously. The mother wears a death's shroud and the baby emerges with a face of anguish.

The collective mother in 'My Nurse and I' (1937) gives Frida the nurturance she needed. Frida was not nursed by her own personal mother, but is nursed by the great mother of Mexico, forced to find the Great Mother by digging deep within her culture. Frida started to create the goddess and the mother she longed for. However, the nurse in this painting looks austere and has a pre-Hispanic death mask instead of a human face. Nurturance and life are laced with death and suffering while the baby Frida appears insecurely held.

In Frida's art, there are many Aztec and Mexican symbols of gods and goddesses. Frida's art seemed guided by the Aztec goddess, Coatlique/Coatlicue (pronounced kwat-lee-kweh), the Mother of the Gods, the goddess of life, death, and rebirth, the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes. She is the Aztec goddess of death, dismemberment, and destruction as well as life. She was created in the image of the 'unknown,' the mystery created by the decorations of skulls, snakes, and lacerated hands. Coatlique is the archetypal symbol of death like the Hindu goddess Kali. With skeletons and hearts in her paintings, Frida found a way not to fear Coatlique but to embrace her, thus finding meaning beyond suffering. With the help of this cultural icon, Frida came to understand symbolic death culturally as well as personally.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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