South African filmmaker Katya Abedian embodies Frida Kahlo in this photographic series, which pays homage to her artist mother


From the age of 12, Frida Kahlo has played an imperative role in Katya Abedian’s life. Having seen an exhibition of her work in Rome, Frida’s full embrace of life and the power found in feminine melancholia resonated deeply with her. “I relate to Frida’s incredible sensitivity to the world and its forces, as well as her deep, unperturbed sense of love and loyalty for those who have her heart,” the young South African filmmaker says. So when Katya’s mother, who is herself an fine artist, choose to paint Katya as Frida – the portrait now hanging in their family home - and subsequently these images were taken of Katya embodying Frida’s persona, it is only natural to say that the message we’re given is about empowerment of artistic and emotional expression.

These self-portraits also represent motherhood, and Katya’s ode to her mother. She finds solace in being in the comfort of her home, where these images were taken, as it is a reminder of what is paramount in her life, namely family and friends. Frida’s reality is her own, and the shared belief among those who admire her work is that she paved the way for them to be confident in their own truths, be it from a place of pain or joy. This is a gift she gave all women.

Photography Alex Paterimos
Production and styling Mikhailia Petersen
Muse Katya Abedian
Hair and make-up Michelle Moolman
Words Naserian Koikai
Fashion Margot Molyneux, Never New and Babette

Published on 23/10/2018