Over half a century after her death, Frida Kahlo has achieved iconic status, with her evocative paintings, compelling biography, and signature style. But what happens when we take away Kahlo’s celebrity and focus solely on her work?

With an introduction to the artist and her work offered by Juan Felipe Herrera, we gather three poets to create their lyrical responses to three of Kahlo’s most resonant paintings: Roots, The Broken Column, and The Two Fridas. Tishani Doshi, Sabrina Mahfouz, and Nadine Aisha Jassat offer their impressions, presenting their poems alongside short films crafted to complement the poem and the original painting. This mesmerising juxtaposition of poetry and art showcases Kahlo’s ongoing influence on contemporary writers, providing them with endless sources of inspiration, wonderment, and questions.

About The Host

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015 – 2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage, Senegal Taxi, Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems. He was a recipient of the PEN, Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

About The Speakers

Nadine Aisha Jassat

Nadine Aisha Jassat is a poet and writer who has contributed to It’s Not About the Burqa (Picador) and 404 Ink’s highly-praised Nasty Women. Her debut poetry collection Let Me Tell You This was shortlisted for the prestigious Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and was recently included in Jackie Kay’s selection of ten compelling BAME writers working in the UK for the National Centre for Writing’s International Literature Showcase.

Tishani Doshi

Tishani Doshi is an award-winning poet, novelist and dancer. She has published six books of fiction and poetry. Her most recent books are Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods (poems), which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award, and a novel, Small Days and Nights (Bloomsbury) about family secrets, coastal life, and a woman making her way alone in contemporary India. 

 photo: jonathan self

Sophia Thakur

A multi-award-winning writer and poet, Sophia Thakur is a unique voice. Sophia was the first poet to be invited to give two TED talks before the age of 20 and has taken part in events for by The Guardian, The Royal Family, Channel 4, BBC, Viacom, Nike and the Liberal Democrat and Labour party. Her debut collection of poetry, Somebody Give This Heart a Pen was published in October 2019.