This is Frida Kahlo’s painting The Little Deer painted in 1946. Take it in.
I really like this painting as it immediately captures the viewer’s attention and draws you in, not to mention the fact that initially it looks seriously weird and I like weird things.
However, once you look past that initial ‘freakishness’, you can’t help but ask yourself questions. It’s the kind of painting that makes you curious. The artist’s face stares out of the painting wanting escape, but the tragedy is that there is no escape. Neither from the pain of being stuck in an abused, bleeding body that has been physically wounded through acts of violence perpetrated against it, nor from the prison of the woods. The only glimmer of light from outside of the trees, the one glimmer of hope, leads onto the sea and – not only that – but out there to make matters worse we see a ferocious lightning storm. Out of the frying pan; into the fire. Cruel. Reality can be unpredictably cruel and it takes a Surrealist to show us the irony of that. So too, the painting captures the voyeurs’ attention which focuses on its subject which is, likewise, about to be captured. Circles within circles – here a vicious one.
This painting is deeply autobiographical – typical of Frida Kahlo’s work. After being in a severe road accident at the age of 16 from which she almost died, she continued to suffer so much pain in her life – both physically, mentally and emotionally.
This painting is sad and distressing, but to me also brings across her nobility. It’s like a heraldic symbol on a shield. To me, it evokes nobility.
And true nobility doesn’t come from being born to wealthy parents; from material success; from grand titles – military, political, academic or otherwise.
True nobility is dignity and the courage to stare back at the face of doom without hiding from it even when you fully understand that all is lost. Frida Kahlo had a dignity that still lives on through her paintings and can never be taken away.