The Mask

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Today we (Kat my designer and I) visited Frida at The Orangerie in Paris along with 1000’s of other people. Despite our early arrival there was already a long queue when we arrived but we were swept in through a side entrance so managed to avoid most of it. The exhibition included sketches, paintings and blown up copies of some of Diego’s mural but we had gone to see Frida and before long we found her. ‘Self portrait in Velvet Dress’ is the image they are using to promote the exhibition and it is one of the first you see. There were some extraordinarily beautiful tiny paintings I’d never seen before, in fact I didn’t even know they existed. ‘Broken Column’ was included as was quite breathtaking – I think I spent quite a long time just staring at it trying to drink it all in. The piece that has really stayed with me though is ‘The Mask’. I’ve seen it before in many of my books but today it was so vivid and all of a sudden felt significant in a way it hasn’t before.

During several of my meetings in Mexico people would say to me ‘Frida was always happy’ ‘She saved her pain for her canvas’. At various points in my life I have had a sense ‘masking’, ‘putting on a happy face’ but today I began to wonder how many other people do that too? Is it a woman thing? A disability thing? It made me think, along with everything else, the dancers and I may just need to do some exploring with masks, physically and metaphorically.

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