One of the main reasons I chose to travel to Mexico City was to visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul. Originally her family’s home, the compound has been turned into a museum where you can see many of her belongings and some of her artwork. It is truly a magical place where you can feel the vibrancy of her life and work.
I built up the experience throughout the trip, knowing that I would visit the museum on my last weekend in Mexico. I searched high and low through the markets to find the perfect ensemble to wear, because I wanted it to be authentically Mexican; something Frida might have worn herself. I bought tickets to the museum ahead of time, hoping to avoid any chance of disaster when the day finally came for me to visit Frida's house.
When I arrived at the museum on the date and time of my ticket, I found that they were closing early due to the New Year's holiday - and that I would have 15 minutes, at most, inside La Casa Azul. After waiting so long to finally visit this special place, I was incredulous that I would not even have enough time to see all of the exhibitions. Manic, I rushed through the space, missing many opportunities that I would have taken to linger over objects and read wall labels. It was an immense disappointment - the pinnacle of my trip to Mexico was ruined.
Soon after I arrived, the guards began ushering attendees out of the exhibition halls and into the central courtyard (where the iconic blue walls and yellow stepped altar reside). Resigned, I slowly walked toward the exit, stopping every few feet to take photos. Moments passed, and many attendees left the museum. But then something miraculous happened. Inexplicably, the guards allowed me to remain. In fact, no one approached me, or said anything at all. They just stood guard by the entrance as every last person left the museum, except for myself and Will. We slowly walked through the courtyard, taking photographs, and marveling at how quiet and serene the it was, now that all of the guests were gone. I reveled in the experience of spending quiet, uninterrupted time within the walls of Frida's abode - and I can't imagine a better way to connect with the art and with her spirit. We ended up staying inside for nearly an hour after the museum closed - an hour that I will treasure as one of the highlights of my visit to Frida's homeland.
Although I didn’t have the chance to mull over each object like I intended to, I left with an overall feeling of understanding what it must have been like for Frida to live her life within the walls of the Casa Azul, and the sense of calm that came with an oasis that blocked out the busyness and bustle of the outside world.
Photos by William Sealy.