Her co-author, Frances Borzello, is a London-based art historian who has written extensively on cultural and gender issues and is a specialist in women artists' self-portraiture.
Seeing how we used a couple of the same texts in our papers, it was pretty interesting to see what directions each of us took with what we read. While I was very theoretical and perhaps philosophical about the idea of categorization, you decided to explain it visually, using scenarios that everyone finds themselves in at least once in their life to make them think about the impact categorization has on their lives. You also touched upon the idea that our identities as human beings are always changing. This compares to the claim that I made in my paper that identity is not a stagnant, singular entity. Your use of the self/other dichotomy was a way for you to show how binaries are designed to exhibit opposing forces. I try to do a little bit of this myself in my paper using Diana Fuss's "inside/out" terminology. Something that you explored in your paper, that I did not, was the idea of culture and borders. By using "Persepolis", you were able to take the inside/out figure to both a figurative and literal level, by comparing how Satrapi sees and identifies herself before and after her trips to Europe. Overall, while we both had many of the same meanings and interpretations when analyzing the texts, we decided to present them in differing, although not opposing, ways.
When our professor proposed the idea of making an anti-self portrait, I questioned the idea because I doubted my drawing ability and I struggle with looking at myself. I am scared of what I will find there. However, when Laura Swanson mentioned it could be any medium, I realized that I am not the kind of person who can be represented by a picture, but by words. The words I chose are all inspirational quotes and lyrics either about keeping going even when it is hard, standing up for what you believe is right, or just enjoying life. The outline of the woman is a representation of me, surrounded by all of the inspiration, facing whatever challenges are coming my way and enjoying life. It is purposefully an incomplete picture of me because I defy many categories that people attempt to put me into.
People define themselves relationally, depending on who is around them at the time. Their differences only become evident when they are in the minority of a group. People’s differences only manifest themselves when they are pointed out and universally recognized as being a defining factor in a person’s identification. People’s definition of themselves comes from looking at others and placing people in certain categories; usually the correct way to be or the wrong way to be. Our stigmatized differences only become important when they are acknowledged or recognized. I perform for society differently than my brother, who performs differently for society than my roommate. I am usually a very shy person and am sometimes very self-conscious. My anti-self portrait conveys my self-consciousness and how I combat that with all of the powerful words and messages surrounding me and my knowledge that I do not have to fit into society’s defined categories.
Although the main focus is the traditional Still Life, some 30 of them pictured and discussed in this book, there are also Kahlo portraits, self-portraits and some of her other surreal works, drawings and sketches.
These letters, written between 1924 and 1948, presents another kind of self-portrait revealing Kahlo's inter most personal feelings about her art, politics, tragedies and events in her life.
My only complaint about this book is that the image on the cover of the 2002 edition is not Frida Kahlo it's the actress Salma Hayek who portrayed Frida Kahlo in the 2003 Miramax film "".