The Casa Azul in the Coyoacán area of Mexico City was the place that Frida Kahlo called home for most of her life. Bought by her father in the years before she was born, it came to Kahlo in 1939. In many respects the house, and in particular its accompanying garden, would become one of Kahlo’s defining works, one that she worked on passionately until her death in 1954. After a month in hospital she was taken home to die and her final request was to be moved to a room that allowed her to look out across her beloved garden: an environment that both matched and inspired the rich vibrancy of its custodian’s life.
Many aspects of Kahlo’s life can be traced through the photos and paintings of her garden. Her relationship with Leon Trotsky, exiled in Mexico, is documented in a small collection of photographs, many taken amongst the plants and flowers sprawling from the grounds of Casa Azul. A photograph taken just three years before her death shows Frida standing proud amidst an abundance of exotic-looking blooms and explosions of wall-climbing ivy. Her face, so often characterised as a collection of severe features, is somehow softened by her obvious joy at the nature surrounding her. The photo is black and white, but you can almost feel the richness of colours spilling from the image.