Frida Kahlo Involved in Bus Accident

On September 17, Frida and her boyfriend, Alejandro Gomez Arias, get onto a bus to head home from school.

Shortly afterwards, the bus is stuck broadside by a tram. Frida sustains multiple injuries, a broken pelvic bone, spinal column, and other severe injuries, leading doctors to doubt whether she would survive. She spends the next several months in bed recovering from the accident.

On September 17, 1925, Kahlo was riding in a bus when the vehicle collided with a trolley car. She suffered serious injuries in the accident, including a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. An iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus, which seriously damaged her reproductive ability.

Although she recovered from her injuries and eventually regained her ability to walk, she was plagued by relapses of extreme pain for the remainder of her life. The pain was intense and often left her confined to a hospital or bedridden for months at a time. She underwent as many as thirty-five operations as a result of the accident, mainly on her back, her right leg and her right foot.

On the afternoon of September 17, 1925, Frida and her friend Alex was involved in a severe Bus vs. Streetcar crash, and Frida was damaged very severely. A metal rod had made a very deep abdominal wound, and her third and fourth lumbar vertebrae were fractured. Frida had received many more wounds too, and she ended up trapped in a body cast for months, as her illustration shows.

While Frida was confined to her bed, her mother brought her a small lap easel, and Frida started to paint. She had studied art before, at the National Preparatory School, where she had met Diego Rivera when he was painting the Creation mural, but Frida had never worked on paintings before. Over her bed, Frida had a mirror so she could see herself, and this was the beginning of her focus on self portraits.

Probably the most influential event in Frida's life was the most tragic one as well. When she was eighteen, she was in a bus accident that marred her for life. Her body was almost destroyed. Both her spinal column and pelvis were broken in three places. She was skewered by a metal handrail that entered her hip and exited through her vagina. The doctors did not expect her to live. It was during the time after this accident, while bed-ridden, that Frida began to paint. Painting not only passed the time, but became an essential outlet for her emotionally and spiritually. Because of the accident, Frida was never able to have children. She had several miscarriages, which caused her to be horribly depressed. She purged her emotions on her canvas. Her paintings are often violent-looking, bloody, and severe. But they simply represent the truth of what was happening to her. Since she could not be a mother, Frida lavished her attention on her many pets: dogs, cats, monkeys, and birds, as well as on her plants.

I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint.”

— Frida Kahlo