Part Mural Part Performance: Sofia Maldonado Revives the Andrew Freeman Home's Kitchen

By - Friday, April 6th, 2012

As one of several artists participating in No Longer Empty’s This Side of Paradise exhibition, artist Sofia Maldonado brought her signature style of street art to the walls of the Andrew Freeman Home’s kitchen. When asked about her participation in the project to invigorate the abandoned space, the artist simply said, “It’s something I wanted to do for me.” While several street artists chose to revive rooms in the upper floors of the house, Maldonado breathed new life into the kitchen through a combination of murals and performance. Often seen as the heart of a house, the artist first began transforming this space by applying her signature abstract shapes and female figures to the walls of the Andrew Freeman Home. Through the use of brightly colored paint with crisp outlines to once neutral-toned walls, the artist created an environment that welcomes guests; her signature female character stands at the center of this space. Usually more risqué when seen in the streets, this woman has been made more family-friendly through the addition of a chef’s hat and apron. In her work, Maldonado uses these women to represent her Latin American heritage. Branching off from this concept, the artist chose to prepare drinks and cook food as a way to further engage visitors with the culture surrounding the Bronx as well as her own. The night began in the kitchen with shots of chichaitos, a traditional drink in the artist’s native Puerto Rico. While the rounds of shots circled the opening, Maldonado was busy preparing a vegetarian sancocho as her final part of the event. In the artist’s culture, this soup is typically eaten at the end of a night of drinking in order to help sober everyone up for the trip home. Maldonado prepared two large pots for the night of the opening in order to counteract the chichaitos that were handed out earlier. As a continuation of this performance for the opening of This Side of Paradise, Sofia Maldonado will be holding cooking workshop on Saturday, April 21st from 11am-1pm in La Cocina. The event will feature nutritionist consultations, a panel discussion, a recipe swap, and several other components. To attend RSVP in advance at No Longer Empty’s website. Photo and Text: Rhiannon Platt

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