Frida Kahlo (b. 1907), one of the most recognised and significant female artists of the 20th century holds an Olmec figurine in the image above. Our personal possessions are all that's tangible once we're gone: they take on a whole new meaning when we're no longer around. When Kahlo died in 1954, her husband Diego Rivera locked away her belongings in a bathroom at their home, the Blue House, and demanded it be opened 15 years after his death. He died in 1957. The door wasn't opened until 2004...
This June, the Victoria & Albert museum, London will exhibit more than 200 objects from the Blue House including cosmetics, letters, jewellery and medicines. These possessions, some of which have never been on show before, offer insight into Kahlo's life and her relationship with the world. Some things were, what we would now describe as, 'upcycled' in Kahlo's own way, and illustrate how she manipulated her possessions to make them feel more unique, personal and charming to live with. Necklaces strung by Kahlo herself, hand painted corsets and a prosthetic leg will be displayed alongside film and photography of the artist, as well as pivotal self portraits.
Unlike the Olmec figurine pictured above, many are practical items that would have formed part of a daily routine. Often overlooked, these things seem to resonate more years on. Kahlo's eyebrow pencil which she used to emphasise her signature mono brow is one of many objects that help illustrate her identity and evoke an uncanny proximity to the artist.