Americas

The women who dress like Frida Kahlo

Updated 1041 GMT (1841 HKT) July 28, 2014
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Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who died 60 years ago this month, is perhaps most famous for her surreal self-portraits which today fetch up to $5m. But her distinctive floral headwear, folk costume and strong brows have also inspired a legion of women to dress up like their hero. Hulton Archive/Getty Images/File
Visual artist Bumi Thomas created a collection of photographs inspired by Kahlo's life, called "7 Series" in which she explored the image of the artist as a feminist icon and a historical figure, through a multicultural lens. Courtesy Bumi Thomas
In this image, Thomas recreates 1939 painting "The Two Fridas." Courtesy Bumi Thomas
One of her subjects was Minna Salami, Nigerian-Finnish writer and the founder of MsAfropolitan, a blog covering society and culture from a feminist perspective. "As a woman who dared to live her life the way she wanted to, however complex, Frida Kahlo is a huge role model to me. I am truly grateful to her legacy," says Salami. Courtesy Bumi Thomas
Thomas says that she was drawn to Khalo's images because they combined cruelty and wit, honesty and insolence, pain and empowerment. Courtesy Bumi Thomas
American Yolanda Gonzalez says that she has always been drawn to strong female artists, and used Halloween as an opportunity to dress as Kahlo. "Frida's story might be heartbreaking but to me it is inspiring. She overcame so much while being true to herself and her art. By dressing up like her I channel a bit of her creative strength," she says. Courtesy Yolanda Gonzalez
For Brazilian photographer Lorena Dini, who took this photo, Kahlo is a source of great inspiration. "For me, Frida Kahlo was a great person and a wonderful artist, " she says. Courtesy Lorena Dini
Sarah Iuliano, a journalism student, dressed as Frida Kahlo to give a presentation about her work in an art class aged 16. "Focusing on Kahlo's appearance rather than her work was of course not my intention, but to me, Frida Kahlo's look signifies freedom. Freedom to mix and match qualities considered to belong to either side of the frustrating gender binary, in both appearance, work and identity," she says. Courtesy Sarah Iuliano
American photographer Valerie Thompson took this photo of her friend Gloria, an artist heavily influenced by the imagery of Frida Kahlo, using a softer focus. Courtesy Valerie Thompson
Colombian student Maria Malagon began to dress as Frida Kahlo seven years ago for the carnival in her home city of Barranquilla. "Each year I try to make a closer image of Frida. I greatly admire her work and her life story has left me with valuable messages," she says. Malagon has visited Kahlo's house in Mexico twice, and says that her work "drives me in some way to not lose my breath and live, that joy and suffering is what life is about." Courtesy María Malagón
There are numerous lookalike contest across the world, such as the one shown here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Phillippe Diederich/Getty Images/File
Even young children get in on the act. "It's a real phenomenon," said art historian Helga Prignitz-Poda. "It's powerful but also a bit fun." Phillippe Diederich/Getty Images/File
As a teenager, Kahlo suffered a horrific traffic accident which left her with lifelong health problems. Many of her self-portraits depict her in pain, such as 1944's "The Broken Column." Dolores Olmedo Museum, Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust
She once famously said: "I paint myself because I am often so alone, and because I am the subject I know best." Dolores Olmedo Museum, Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust
Kahlo married fellow Mexican painter Diego Rivera in 1929. The couple had a tumultuous relationship, with Kahlo having affairs with both men and women. Footsearch/Getty Images/File
"She pointed out her mustache and joint eyebrows because they show a male aspect to her personality, and Frida always wanted to be both. She wanted to be a complete human being and not only the sweet wife," said Prignitz-Poda. Dieter Nagla/Getty Images/File