Until I looked at Google today, I had forgotten that it is Frida Kahlo’s 103rd birthday. I wanted something appropriate to commemorate the occasion so I went out after dinner tonight to find something Mexican to photograph in her honor. A little over a mile from my house, this is what I found. I’ve seen this place for years but had never stopped before.
These murals are on an old mortuary building; the newer part of the mortuary is around the corner. They were painted in 1998 by a Phoenix artist, Rose Johnson. Almost everyone knows some of Frida’s story but people outside of Phoenix may not know anything about Rose. She was born and educated in England and moved to the US when she was in her 20s, settling in Phoenix. She was well-known and respected in the local art community. In 1998, she moved to Bisbee, AZ, a small arts enclave in southern Arizona but still had many ties to Phoenix. She was strongly influenced by Mexican art.
Tragically, a little over a year ago, she died in Bali, where she had recently relocated, from acute alcohol poisoning as a result of ingesting liquor that had been laced with methanol. Hers was the 23rd fatality in 10 days from that cause in Bali. She was only 48 (Frida was 47 when she died).
This mural is one of her best-known works.
You can read more about Rose here or see an interview of her while she still lived in Bisbee, soon after visiting Bali. An extensive article appears here. If you click to make the images larger, you can see more of the interesting detail.