patty peixoto


Title: Love

 Cake (2011)

Mixed media installation

Produced for an in-home exhibition with XX other artists for the Kitchen Show, Cake at first glance appears to be simply a decorative birthday cake with real confectionary sugar. Part of the top layer of the cake has been cut out, revealing a video showing various loops of birds.  Next to the cake is a photo of myself standing next to a similar cake at age 7 in Maceió, Brazil, where every summer I was visited my aunt.

The beautiful memory I have of the annual birthday cake made lovingly by my favorite aunt is where this piece begins. Comfort and connection once experienced, is altered and transmuted by layers of the piling on of life. This piece draws on feelings and images of freedom, youthful health and energy, a carefree sweet life, now mixing many years later, with the unexpected.  The same memories and images conjure happy beautiful thoughts intertwined with sadness and worry. Images of sweetness, family, health, beauty, freedom, and youthful energy, all collapse, creating another, more complex story. 

A sugary cake celebrates another year of life, but the presence of sugar in the body is also a diagnostic medical tool (e.g., PET scans) pointing to health problems that threaten life. A thoughtful simple birthday gesture made by an adoring aunt gives way to a reminder of the passing of time at a later stage of adulthood, when disease may begin, which restricts individual choices and personal freedoms. The birds are free, but the freedom of the birds can quickly be taken and their experiences restricted in cages. Watching birds fly free is so beautiful, but the same beautiful birds often carry diseases that can alter our own human lives.

Beyond documenting my own personal health experiences, the piece explores the sweet and bitter parts of life, which is sometimes expressed in the Brazilian Portuguese term saudade. With saudade, fond memories and a longing to return to easier times coexist in the same place. Feelings and memories can give way to new, unexpected stories.




Title: Thorn or Flower