42nd St. mural by Sofia Maldonado drives some up the wall

The New York Daily News reports on a controversial mural by Cuban-Puerto Rican artist Sofía Maldonado.

A huge mural depicting curvy, bling-laden, bosom-baring Afro-Caribbean Latinas in Times Square has spurred demands to bring it down. [See our earlier post about the project at Cast of Afro-Caribbean Latinas populates 42nd Street mural]. “These negative depictions of women [are] a cartoonish buffoonery that we cannot have,” said Anthony (Tony) Herbert, co-founder of the Urban Community Council, a networking group that organized a protest in front of the artwork last month. “This is an ongoing campaign to ensure that black and Hispanic kids get the opportunity to see heroes in a positive light,” Herbert added. “We cannot afford to have this kind of negativity thrown in their faces, in essence saying it’s art.”

The 92-foot, brightly colored mural, which was featured in Viva New York, is the work of Sofia Maldonado, a 26-year-old Cuban-Puerto Rican artist who was commissioned by the Times Square Alliance. It went up last month on 42nd St. between Seventh and Eighth Aves.

“I’m not trying to generalize Latino and black women,” Maldonado said. “This mural represented a specific group,” she added, referring to women in pop culture who, she said, are rarely represented in the fine arts. In a departure from her previous work, which featured women with green and blue skin, Maldonado said she was determined to “make these women look like real women.”

Passerby María Vélez, 31, in town from Puerto Rico on a business trip, agreed. “I find it beautiful,” said Vélez, snapping pictures of the piece. “The colors. The lines. The expressions. Their postures.”

The mural is scheduled to remain on view through the end of this month. Until then, Maldonado vowed, “It’s not going to go anywhere.”

Originally reported at http://www.nydailynews.com/latino/2010/04/14/2010-04-14_mural_drives_some_up_the_wall.html

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