Community Fridges and Mutual Aid Amid the Pandemic

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2209 ... October 6, 2020

Community Fridges and Mutual Aid Amid the Pandemic

April M. Short

On one side of a refrigerator that stands on a sidewalk in New Orleans, two alligators encircle a woman with dark mocha skin wearing a tattered white slip. Her hair is a single braid that reaches the ground. She stands with her right foot on top of an orange snake. Above her, white birds seem to be flying toward a celestial body. Below her, two white Bengal tigers prowl between two halves of a papaya. This is just one of several paintings created by artist Sydney Calderon in support of New Orleans Community Fridges (NOCF), which is a mutual-aid effort setting up refrigerators around the city that offer free food to community members, many of whom currently struggle with hunger.

Twenty-four-year-old Calderon, originally from Richmond, California, says about her art, "[I am] deeply inspired by my Mexican heritage, and aim to honor it within my art. To me, painting is more than a career; it’s the core of my existence." She says New... Orleans is the home she’s always been searching for in her heart.

"My intention was to combine my personal artistic style of Mexican folk art with various aspects of New Orleans, to create a piece inspired by the whimsical and colorful character of this city," Calderon said. "My goal in painting the [fridge for NOCF] was to create something beautiful and colorful that everyone could have some sort of ownership over. I think we all kind of absorb our surroundings and are impacted by what we see/experience on a day-to-day basis. I think more regular exposure and accessibility to art could play a huge role in nourishing our community."

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