Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Frida, Diego & Trotsky

I came to Mexico City earlier than intended, with a sickness that forced me into some comfort.

The house I'm staying in is in Coyoacan, a beautiful, leafy, rather affluent suburb of the capital, that just happens to have been the suburb which Frida and Diego, and later Trotsky, inhabited.

Frida's house was a joyful place, a beautiful house and amazing garden, but very constructed as a museum now, feeling a little false in the end. But I went along as a small pilgrimage, Frida being my heroine and all; I've felt a certain affinity with Frida since suffering a serious accident and being able to identify with the physical pain that practically bleeds out of her canvases, as well as being a female artist and the fact that she's Mexican and I come from a family of Latinophiles (practically the same, yes?)

I walked into Trotsky's house, on the other hand, with a very heavy heart. I felt a palpable sadness there.
I don't need to blaze on about what a remarkable man he was (regardless of one's politics, this is fairly undeniable in my opinion, at the very least on an intellectual level). But to be there and know what happened in that house; that he was killed after having been exiled from Russia and having suffered the deaths of almost all his children at the hands of the Stalinites; and to know what died along with the man, I felt I was walking amongst a human tragedy.

I am aware of the morbid fascination that draws throngs of tourists to places of death and suffering, like Auschwitz and Seol Slang, photographing bullet holes and fascinating over blood (not that everyone goes there for that reason). I kept myself in check as moved through the rooms, making sure this wasn't my incentive for being there, but I found I was much more interested in his collection of books than the bullet holes in the walls.

Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Mexico is the land of murals, and Bellas Artes is a shrine to this fact.

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