Milenka Maldonado carries one of the most complete artistic backpacks, having complemented three disciplines in her work: theater, music and poetry.
She is kurruf , which means wind in the Mapuche language. Milenka loves to define herself as a wind that adapts, moves and grows. She is a multifaceted artist who understands poetry, music and theater as a tool to convey stories, realities and social problems to people. The theme of his work focuses on the situation of the Mapuche people in Chile and the need to take art to those remote places where even the most basic resources do not reach.
Milenka had her first contact with art thanks to her grandfather, who instilled in her the poetic sensibility that existed in nature while they were walking through the countryside. She was fascinated by the moment when they both walked to the top of the hill to discover where the water that ran there came from and where it was going.
Milenka comes from southern Chile, from the Bío Bío region, Mapuche land. Although he assures that at first his stay in Spain was only going to be a short season, he has lived in Madrid for 13 years now. For years this artist has dedicated herself professionally to the theater, touring with an important company throughout Latin America. Poetry has been a strong constant in his life , to the point of consolidating a poetic-musical band known as Tejiendo Almas .
This artist has turned her passion into a claim and from here we welcome her, because Milenka is already part of Mobs!
FROM BIO BIO TO MADRID
I write poetry and do theater from the Mapuche worldview to promote it
Q: Milenka, what inspired you to opt for the artistic?
A: I was very lucky because from a very young age I realized what I liked. My grandfather was a poet and he taught me to read and write by reading his verses. I lived near the Bío Bío river and saw that its mouth in the sea had very poetic connotations for me. This region I'm talking about is Mapuche land; The indigenous people have the idea that one is in communion with the entire cosmos and they attach great importance to the strength of the union between different points. I love this, which is why I write poetry and do theater from the Mapuche worldview to promote it. I would like to be able to recite a poem to you regarding that very thing (begins to recite and interpret the verses):
Walking I walked fragile paths that led me to a hill... how lucky I was! I could hear the river. Singing he reached the sea... How beautiful it is to be sweet and mix with salt!
P: You put very good interpretation to the reading! have you studied theater?
A: Yes. I studied Dramatic Art at the University of Chile and from there I went to live in Buenos Aires. For two years I was on a tour called Encuentro en Movimiento with five other theater companies. We used to perform in the valleys and small towns where indigenous people live or people who, due to their limited resources, do not have access to the theater. That trip opened my mind a lot and right after the opportunity presented itself to me to go to Madrid , where I continued my work.
Q: When did you start your artistic career with poetry?
A: For a long time I participated in music jams both in Spain and in Chile. In these meetings I began to come into contact with musicians who wanted to work with me and my poems. Many of the poems I use are written by my brother, a renowned poet in Chile, and some of them I write myself. Finally, I surrounded myself with many musicians and began to shape what would be my artistic career in the field of poetry.
"MY FRIEND'S YARD"
I believe that theater, music and poetry must be brought to the daily life of any space so that everyone can enjoy it.
Q: In your work you mix music, theater and poetry. What do you want to contribute with this synergy?
A: I use art as a tool to transport people to another place. From the daily life of any space to the social problems of the Mapuche people. Through theater, music and poetry, I talk about the wars that the indigenous people are experiencing, about the people of Chile with few resources who do not receive any kind of help, about the centralization of resources in Santiago while in the south of the country hardly anything arrives... Not even the plays! If the people of the south had better access to culture, they could get rich from it and even participate, and I think that the government is not interested in that.
Q: And how do you transfer your artistic work to that everyday life you speak of?
A: In the case of the theater, I am currently in a group called Dramatizadas that is framed within the political theater. Due to the pandemic, the small theaters where we used to perform have closed and now we do dramatized readings in the patio of one of our friends' houses. In this space we invite people to come see us and we pass on the cap. The idea of all this is to make art from what is close , such as the patio of a house, without the need to buy expensive tickets. Thus we break with the elitist dynamics of the theater. I believe that theater, music and poetry must be brought into the daily life of any space so that everyone can enjoy it.
Q: Regarding your band Tejiendo Almas , for what purpose was it born?
A: Two years ago we conceived this poetic-musical band with the aim of fusing my poems —and those of my brother— with Mapuche sounds, colors and tones. I play an instrument that I am going to show you (he takes out an instrument) called a trutruca and that the weychafe , the Mapuche warriors, use to call the meeting (he plays it). At Tejiendo Almas concerts we always open with this instrument.
Q: I see that you have a lot of experience in the art world, is there an anecdote that you want to share with Mobs Nation?
A: Once in Budapest they invited me to do a collaboration with a Chilean folk band that I love… I couldn't believe it! It was like a dream to go on stage with them. But before acting I broke the entire nail on my big toe (emulates a sound of pain). There was an hour left to go on stage and I, barely able to move, bandaged my finger, put on some giant boots and limped to the stage. I wanted to do that so much that once I was up I didn't feel any pain… I even jumped! Coming offstage I took my boots off and it was all covered in blood, so I had to go straight to the ER to get a few stitches.
MOBS, A DOUBLE CHALLENGE
I like Mobs because it allows artists from different fields to meet each other, support us and share our art.
Q: The last poem you wrote was commissioned for Mobs, how was the experience?
A: I really liked it, although at first it was a big challenge for me because I couldn't get inspired. Luckily, the boy who commissioned me gave me interesting facts, like his grandfather was a landscape painter, so I went up to the top of a hill in Madrid and tried to capture the sound, smell and vision of his paintings. grandfather. The poem was addressed to the boy's mother and aunt and they loved it: the mother sent me a voice message crying with emotion after receiving the video.
Q: And how did you feel after receiving that feedback?
A: It was great because it was a double challenge for me. I was very satisfied with the result and I felt great knowing that I had succeeded.
Q: With what this experience has meant to you, what do you think Mobs Nation can bring you as an artist?
A: I joined this platform because I think it is a place that gives me freedom to develop as an artist and at the same time get to know other people's work. I like Mobs because it allows artists from different fields to meet each other, support us and share our art.