Local Arts, Heritage and Nature in the mountains of Northeast Algarve
Francisco, Maria Luísa
Sociology FCSH UNL Lisboa, Portugal
The narration of the past, the maintenance of collective memories is a way of survival of the populations from the northeast Algarve - South Portugal. In the mountains of the Northeast Algarve we found ancestral local arts transformed into pieces of art, using what nature provide, from roots of rock-rose to stream stones, from plants such as oleander and linen to scurf of corncob. Raw materials are used to create objects more or less creative.
Are they handicraft, are they art? Handicraft has a collective sense; it is learned and passed on from generation to generation. Art is not learnable; it has a more individual sense.
Where is the frontier between the two? Are not all artists, artisans at the same time? Is handicraft the learnable part of the technique and art part of the technique that is not teachable, because it is connected to the artist's inner discovery?
In any case, a rural identity is intrinsic and is represented through a simple language and through a connection to nature as an almost divine entity. Alongside, there is an immaterial heritage full of legends, tales and prayers showing fear of God and respect to spelled Moorish women.
The creators of the objects are mainly old, have learned with their ancestors and continue to make those objects as a ritual that allows them to keep their mental sanity. The same happens with agriculture, which in the past was the essence of their maintenance, and which they keep at a very short rate in order not to lose such contact, such balance.
The humbleness with which they present their works is touching; such is the grief of having no one who wants to learn such crafts. Some younger persons began other crafts but with purchased raw materials. The objects and respective raw materials will be presented in the poster.