Frida Puzzle full

Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has one of the best gallery gift shops.

I saw this fantastic jigsaw puzzle of Friday Kahlo in their recent newsletter. I jumped on the order!

I knew this jigsaw would server me as a double whammy! I love being home a lot anyway but with COVID-19 restrictions, both Theo and I are being extra careful (can you imagine COVID AND chronic pain? And what if Theo got sick… bye-bye work… again!!!!).

So these 1,000 pieces of goodness were serving both COVID-19 AND catharsis for chronic pain purposes.

Catharsis through creativity will be an ongoing process for me. I always find I’m trying to release chronic pain in more ways than treatment permits.

I’ve found catharsis, through creative activity, hits the spot most effectively. The tangible quality makes me feel I’ve got the pain in my hands and am manipulating it. Perhaps I am… The most cathartic creative thing I’ve ever done was to put my book together. The portrait on the cover of my book was a collage of teeny pieces of paper that I tore up. The paper was either hand-coloured or parts of my prescriptions, pages from novels that I felt related to my experience, receipts from treatments, insurers, procedures and health care reports.

It was great tearing up all that horrible stuff. And then I got to the stringy bits. Laying it out so that it reflected my journey and flowed through the book and to the rhythm of my words was tricky but oh so good.

The huge knot that expressed the most frustrating time of my whole pain journey was such a pleasure to make. I couldn’t tangle it enough!

Art & Chronic Pain - A Self Portrait

But back to the puzzle…

The most powerful moments putting this puzzle together were seeing Frida’s face in scattered pieces, seeing her body in broken pieces, and then, the act of piecing her body together.

If only we could have helped Frida, or somewhat impacted her life – even a fraction for the legacy and love she left behind.

I know when I’m dressed up and looking my best, chronic pain and the trauma associated with its years of management is always there.

I edited the puzzle after it was complete to reflect what I think Frida may have been feeling.

Frida Puzzle broken