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Celebrating Disability Pride Month

Published by Kassi Soulard on

This is a special post written by Charles Warren, Curriculum Developer at Triangle. Charlie is also a member of Triangle’s Racial Equity Committee. As part of our commitment to the work of our Racial Equity Committee, we will be sharing more information with you on subjects related to racial equity and disability justice. This post continues our series dedicated to calling attention to the contributions of people with disabilities to American history.

July is Disability Pride Month! This month, Triangle’s Racial Equity Committee (REC) is celebrating everyone who is focused on increasing awareness and empowerment for people with disabilities. The REC’s posts strive to honor intersectionality and highlight people of color with disabilities whose lives cross over multiple identities and issues ALL at the same time.

Frida Kahlo: A Celebration of Disability and Artistic Expression

A self-portrait by Frida Kahlo depicts her seated in her wheelchair beneath a white parasol with a beaded fringe is wearing a long red dress, necklaces and earrings made of strands large beads. She is holding a bouquet of colorful flowers, and has flowers in her hair. She is sitting in a blue room, and there is a little seated monkey in the right hand corner looking up at her.
Self-Portrait by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, the iconic Mexican artist whose name became synonymous with resilience and creativity, was a person with a disability. Her artistic production challenged dominant narratives surrounding the experience of disability, weaving a complex tapestry of her experiences, cultural heritage, and personal beliefs. She was born in 1907, and contracted polio as a child. Kahlo experienced further health issues and mobility impairment after a bus accident when she was 18 years old. Throughout her life, she experienced chronic pain and physical challenges.

Her most well-known work is her self-portraiture. Dream-like depictions, full of vibrant color and imagery with symbolic meanings, these works stand as important acts of disability visibility. Kahlo presented herself to the world in her portraits as a person with a disability at a time when this was exceedingly rare. Including the use of medical equipment, such as back braces, and a variety of difficult emotions, her experience of disability was not hidden, but explored and generously presented to the viewer. Her works communicate a message: individuals with disabilities are meaningful creators and thinkers who shape their reality and contribute their vision and production to our shared world.

Frida Kahlo’s work continues to inspire people with disabilities and challenge societal perceptions. Her story emphasizes that disability is an intrinsic part of the human experience and a source of artistic power. During Disability Pride Month, let’s celebrate Frida Kahlo’s legacy and the power of artistic expression to transform pain into beauty.

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