Frida Kahlo & Joy Hester: Representations of Self

Essay by tainted_lovexx March 2006

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'Like everybody else, artists are effected and influenced by their personal and cultural backgrounds. Culture is learnt participatory and not genetic based , so it is strongly influenced by environment, experience and social learning.'

Artists such as Frida Kahlo and Joy Hester both explore emotional conditions and environmental influences through their artwork.

Like so many artists in the 1940s, Hester's work was deeply affected by World War II. By employing certain techniques, Joy Hester illustrates emotional conditions through her highly authentic artworks. In exploring the impact World War II had on Australian communities, Hester furthered the stark and shocking images by using minimal ink in her work.

Frida Kahlo demonstrated the many sufferings in her life through her surreal and emotional artwork. Her self portraits are emotionally demanding, vivid and intense.

Through evoking their personal feelings, artists such as Joy Hester and Frida Kahlo were better able to use their personal experiences to communicate within their artwork.

Joy Hester exemplified emotional conditions through her highly personal, autobiographical artworks. She often concentrated on the human head and face to demonstrate feeling and physiological insight. Hester recognized that with a few precise strokes of brush, pen or ink in specific locations (such as the eyes), the whole mood of her work could alter. She is often described as a visual poet, telling the stories of human struggle, love and childhood. Just one of Hester's emotional artworks is 'Our Christ who mourns us' (1947). By using only brush and ink, the portrait of Christ, illustrates much sadness and disappointment, and appears sympathetic to the viewer. It was created around World War II, and like many of her works, explored the impact that the conflict had on every-day people in Australian communities.

The great Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is without doubt one of the...