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How Frida Kahlo Made Chronic Pain and Disability Visible Through Art

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“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” — Frida Kahlo At the Frida Kahlo: Timeless exhibit that closed recently at College of DuPage’s McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, what gripped me as much as her artwork, the 26 paintings on display, was how profoundly her life and art were shaped by disability.

I knew from the biopic with Salma Hayek that she led a life of physical pain, but had no idea she was bedbound so often and so long that she created a lot of her great art there.

They even placed a replica of her bed right in the exhibit! At age 6, Kahlo contracted polio that left one leg shorter than the other.

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