Happy belated anniversary date to Frida Kahlo, a chingona artist. She died on July 13, 1954 leaving art that lives on in perpetuity through her incredibly emotive images and poetry.
The term “Chingona” is a Spanglish term, slang, for a
bad ass, wise woman, powerful, individualist, self-activated, a woman who lives a life for their own approval, self-empowered, a strong woman
You might find the word in an urban dictionary but it’s a subjective term that’s more of a concept than a specific definition. I think most Latino’s agree with terms similar to those I mentioned above and could probably add more identifiers.
Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican painter, and is perhaps best known for her self-portraits. Kahlo’s life began and ended in Mexico City, in her home known as
La Casa Azul ( the Blue House). Diego Rivera was her husband. Leon Trotsky and Nickolas Muray (the photographer of this 1938 photo) were her lovers.
One of my favorite authors, Sandra Cisneros, shares her perspective on “How to be a Chingona in 10 easy steps.” One of the steps rings true about Frida Kahlo’s life:
Depression has a purpose if you use it before it uses you. Compost it through art
Frida Kahlo encountered much suffering in her life. The polio she contracted at age six left her right leg thinner than the other, a bus accident resulted in a broken back and a pierced abdomen resulted in subsequent miscarriages. Her husband was also tempestuous and unfaithful.
She produced 143 paintings, 55 of which are self-portraits. When asked why she painted so many self-portraits, Frida replied: “Because I am so often alone….because I am the subject I know best.” This video, from the History Channel, gives a view of Frida’s life:
This visceral poem is one of my favorites: