“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality. I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.” With these words, Frida Kahlo, the well-known Mexican painter known for her outstanding self-portraits, summarised her own art philosophy that enabled her to gain great popularity worldwide during the 1940s.
With her distinctive unibrow, remarkable flower crowns, and an outstanding fashion sense which turned her into a feminist iconic figure, Kahlo managed to pave her own path, challenging all the customs and values of Mexican society as well as her personal and health troubles. Although she died in 1954, she is still considered a source of inspiration for modern feminist movements.
In his latest project, photographer Ahmed Mahrous decided to revive Kahlo’s spirit through a group of photos in which he captured her outstanding features in an artistic way.
“I consider Frida one of the best painters in the whole world because she pays great attention to the small details, which is one of the merits of talented artists,” Mahrous said.
“I also consider her a unique example of freedom and strength that can serve as a role model for women from all ages and backgrounds because of her distinctive way of dressing and bold choice of colours and flowers,” he added.
The enthusiasm of Reem Adel, the model who portrayed Frida in the photos, was another factor that encouraged Mahrous to start his project.
“In the preparation stage, I had to check all of her paintings to see how she used flowers as backgrounds for her artistic works. I started to collect some colourful pieces of cloth that may be used for the session as well as the quotes that would accompany each photo,” he added.
In his opinion, people must change the way they look at beauty and women have to free themselves from the cage of traditional beauty standards portrayed in the media.
“The main objective of this project is to remind people, especially youth, of remarkable characters like Frida who could prove that beauty has never been limited to the outer appearance. However, you have to dig deeper to search for the beauty of the talent and this is what you can see through Frida’s outstanding life journey,” he explained.
Mahrous was surprised by the feedback he received from people.
“People who previously knew about Kahlo were so happy to see her spirit dominating modern photos in a new artistic style; however, people who didn’t know about her started reading about her early life and artistic achievements. This satisfies me as a photographer who tries to recall inspiring characters in people’s minds,” he concluded.