Listen&Learn: Frida Kahlo

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • self-portrait: a drawing or painting that an artist does of themselves
  • contract: to catch a disease
  • polio: a dangerous disease that can cause paralysis
  • limp: an uneven way of walking, caused by an injury or illness
  • recover: to get better after an injury or illness
  • symbolize: to represent a certain concept
  • expression: the representation of something in art

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican , best known for her self-portraits. She was born in 1907 in Mexico City. At the age of five, Kahlo contracted polio, which left her with a permanent limp. Later, as a teenager, she was seriously injured in a bus accident. Throughout her life, Kahlo had to have surgery often in order to stay and healthy. Because of this, she spent a lot of time recovering in bed. In fact, many of her most works were painted from her bed. Though the accident caused a lot of pain in her life, it also inspired much of her artwork. Almost half of her paintings were self-portraits, most of them meant to symbolize her pain. Kahlo’s work has often been classified as surrealism, a style of art that is by dreams. However, Kahlo disagreed with this, because she had always seen her art as an expression of real life. As Kahlo got older, her got steadily worse. She died in 1954, when she was only 47. Although Kahlo died young, both her life and her artwork are still celebrated today.

Comprehension questions

1. Frida Kahlo was best known for painting

Correct! Wrong!

Frida Kahlo was best known for painting self-portraits.

2. Kahlo was left with a limp after

Correct! Wrong!

Kahlo was left with a limp after recovering from polio.

3. Kahlo died in

Correct! Wrong!

Kahlo died in 1954.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Frida Kahlo was one of many creators who have used art to cope with pain. Why do you think people find comfort in art and creativity?

Transcript

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter, best known for her self-portraits. She was born in 1907 in Mexico City. At the age of five, Kahlo contracted polio, which left her with a permanent limp. Later, as a teenager, she was seriously injured in a bus accident. Throughout her life, Kahlo had to have surgery often in order to stay alive and healthy. Because of this, she spent a lot of time recovering in bed. In fact, many of her most famous works were painted from her bed. Though the accident caused a lot of pain in her life, it also inspired much of her artwork. Almost half of her paintings were self-portraits, most of them meant to symbolize her pain. Kahlo’s work has often been classified as surrealism, a style of art that is inspired by dreams. However, Kahlo disagreed with this, because she had always seen her art as an expression of real life. As Kahlo got older, her health got steadily worse. She died in 1954, when she was only 47. Although Kahlo died young, both her life and her artwork are still celebrated today.

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub

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