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Paula Rego and Her Contemporaries, By Paula Rego

Last June, the exhibition entitled “Paula Rego and her contemporaries” (Figs.1 & 2) was inaugurated in London, organized by the Embassy of Portugal in the United Kingdom with the aim of celebrating the Portuguese presidency of the European Commission.


Fig.1 Exhibition “Paula Regos and her contemporaries”, London, June 2021
(Photo by Jamie Smith)


Fig.2 Conversations between artists
(Photo by Jamie Smith)

Ana Palma and Cliff Andrade were the selected contemporary artists to present their work together with eleven engravings by the artist Paula Rego (Figs.2 & 3). The exhibition curated by Mara Alves presented the work of the three artists, and also included the unprecedented public exhibition of the engraving “La Mano Muerta”.


Fig.3 Eleven engravings by the artist Paula Rego

(Photo by Jamie Smith)


 Fig.4 Opening ceremony of the exhibition

(Photo by Jamie Smith)

This event was supported by Instituto Camões (Fig.5) and developed a series of lectures and online conversations between artists (e.g. Ana Palma, Cliff Andrade), curator Mara Alves and guests such as Nina Pearlman, Maria Manuel Lisboa, Katrin Sohns, Elena Crippa and Catarina Alfaro.


Ana Palma (Fig. 6 & 7) is an artist from Viana do Castelo. She lives and works in London. She obtained her BA degree in Fine Arts at Porto University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Portugal.


Fig. 7 Paintings and drawings by Ana Palma

(Photo by Jamie Smith)


Fig.6  Ana Palma

(Photo by Jamie Smith)

All the information is here:

Short Bio

She is a Portuguese visual artist living in London since 2015. She has exhibited as a solo artist and in several collective exhibitions and she has also been shortlisted for art contests.
Studying Fine Art led her to another passion: education. Sharing knowledge and experiences has always been an evident personality trait which explains my career as an art teacher. She said:

I do believe that Art can help young people become better human beings developing critical thinking, creativity and a broader vision of the world. This interest in the human psychology and personal development is not only present in my work as a teacher but also in my artistic practice. Currently, my work delves into the relationship between human beings and Nature. The human figure and the natural world are unavoidable subjects through which memories, emotions, and symbolism emerge. There are two aspects that have had a huge impact in my practice: one is the fact that I was brought up in the countryside surrounded by Nature and the other one is a strong painting and drawing foundation (particularly anatomical drawing).

My grandmothers taught me not only to appreciate and respect Nature but also to use it to heal ourselves. They showed me that there’s a unique connection between women and nature which they used as a way of expressing themselves and be creative. Both my grandmothers felt complete and fulfilled when they were surrounded by their plants, trees and flowers. I was lucky enough to spend most of my days with them learning how to look after the plants, understanding the seasons and other Nature’s cycles.

The other aspect that has influenced my practice is the passion for drawing, particularly anatomical drawing, which I’ve explored intensely in my Fine Art degree. Drawing is my main language and the most natural way I’ve found to express myself. I am in each line, in each stain and they are permanently constructing and deconstructing me.

My most recent solo exhibition, FEMINA is a personal journey to understand the idea of femininity. Natural elements, women and poetry merge together to create images that tell stories about sweetness, bitterness, fragility, and resilience. What makes a woman a woman?  What does it mean to be a woman in the 21st century? What role does the past play in how women see themselves and are seen today? In this body of work, I’ve explored how magical the process of creating or finding an image is. Letting intuition lead the way allows ideas to start revealing themselves through lines and brushstrokes while digging into the depths of two-dimensionality to uncover skin, flesh, and bones.

My artwork is influenced by a wide range of disciplines from music to dance or poetry, however, visual art is the most obvious. Artists such as Paula Rego, Lucien Freud, Graça Morais, António Mendanha, Larry Rivers or even Francisco Goya have always been a source of inspiration.




Temporary Autonomous Arts festival, By Joana Palma

Joana Palma is an artist that currently lives in London, UK. Gradually, her works started to gain visibility and her art objects were adopted for decorating social events. The first large-scale objects that she created portrayed the theme of space and mystical inheritances. However, she felt the need to widen her knowledge and set out to study abroad. Moved to a diverse artistic cultural scene of London, her work began to receive attention not only within her community, but also in the domain of the corporate world. She has been invited to carry out projects across different continents.

With her academic training, she has become aware of the artist's role in society and the need to transcend socio-cultural barriers through art. This knowledge has led her to the need for social inclusion and to create events that are of participatory nature. Noting a growing demand for a paradigm shift in the current reality, she aims to expand her work in the area of contemporary art. Besides, she encourages young people to be independent thinkers for bringing forth creative transformations.

In this new Edition of Diálogos, we share her last exhibition in the Temporary Autonomous Arts Festival in London, last October, where she displayed her artwork:

She displayed individual and work developed together with the Nave Collective, that is a group of artists that comes together to present a way to use creativity to approach topics that we feel need to be discussed: consumerism, homelessness, environmental issues, body politics, sustainability and mental health.


Check this link:

Cabeçudos and Gigantones, from tradition to creation - The creation of a Big Head with History, By Francisco Cruz & Beatriz Vidal

Francisco Cruz, is an art/craft teacher. He holds a BA Art Education degree at  Higher School of Education of Viana do Castelo Polytechnic (1992), and is member of the Art Department of the Basic Education School EB 2,3 Dr. Pedro Barbosa, Viana do Castelo, Portugal and he is a specialist in three dimensional art & craft. He does Cabeçudos (Big Heads) according to traditional methods and techniques, as well as other pieces in cardboard and old paper, a project called “ARTEsanato em PAPEL” (Fig.1). His raw material is paper, preferably old paper that becomes “new”, whether in recycled sheets or moldable pulp. Everything transformed and created by him. He associates recycling with the reuse of old paper and cards: newspapers, magazines, damaged photocopies, crates... These are common waste, daily wasted, that this artist and teacher reuses to produce “ecologically correct” works. He holds the Craftsman's Letter nº 112865 from the Employment and Professional Training Institute, in the craft activities “Paper Manufacturing”, “Art of Paper Work” and “Art of Puppetry”.


Fig 1 Big Heads created by Francisco Cruz and Ms Arminda in the black & white photo © Azevedo, 2021

Last November 25th and 26th Francisco developed one workshop related to Cabeçudos, in the 16th International Conference of Arts, at the Higher School of Education of Viana do Castelo Polytechnic. (Figs. 2-).


Figs.2, 3 & 4 The participants of the workshop in the 16 th International Conference of Arts

This workshop had the presence of a Brasilian researcher, Beatriz Vidal, art teacher that started the rescue of this tradition in Vassouras, Brazil, where she lives. She also spoke about Petecas and Bonecões, as she calls Cabeçudos in that context. Every year the puppets go out to the "Cortejo das Tradições", an event that brings together traditional groups such as Capoeira, Caninha-verde, Maculelê and Folia de Reis (Figs. 5 & 6).


Fig.5 The rescue of Zé Pereira's Big Heads © Vidal 2021


Fig. 6 Peteca tradition © Vidal 2021

Beatriz and Francisco developed this collaborative workshop in the 26th of November 2021, for the participants of the International Conference of Arts (Figs. 7, 8, 9 & 10).


Fig.7 Beatriz Vidal explaining Peteca and Bonecões traditions © Cruz 2021

Fig.8 Francisco Cruz and Beatriz Vidal © Cruz 2021

Fig.9 Francisco in his studio © VianaFestas Vol.V, serie 2

Fig. 10 News about the workshop in the Alto Minho Journal, 2021

Cruz shared this text which was written by him and another colleague, which explains this tradition of the “Cabeçudos and Gigantones” in Viana do Castelo:

This tradition dates back to the end of the 19th century, when they paraded for the first time in the Pilgrimage of Senhora d’Agonia. It is said that it was an administrator of the Town Hall who saw these giant figures in Santiago de Compostela, dancing in front of the Cathedral to the sound of a group of drummers, in homage to the Apostle on his feast day, and then took the initiative to bring them to the city of Viana.

Although the origin of these figures is not local, their persistence over the years may be explained by the relationship with our culture, the existence of grotesque or large puppets in processions of preceding years, but also in traditions that are widely lived today in the Alto Minho, like the “Queima do Judas”, the “Sarração da Velha” or the “Coca” of Monção.

Among the artisans and "entrepreneurs" of Cabeçudos and Gigantones throughout time, three generations of "Taipeiros" from the village of Darque stand out. “Entrepreneurs” because, in addition to being their creators, they rented, dressed, restored and accompanied these great figures.

Maria Arminda Ribeiro Maciel (1909 - 1985) was the most recent and perhaps the most emblematic “entrepreneur” of these tasks. Like her father, D. Maria Arminda – nicknamed “Taipeira” – cheered up the entire group of Gigantones and Cabeçudos with a whip in her hand, ready to fall on anyone who didn't obey her orders.

She usually wore a flowered shirt, black skirt and apron, and always carried the whip in one hand. She imposed the necessary discipline on the group she guided and everyone danced to the sound of Zés P’reiras.

Currently, Cabeçudos and Gigantones belong to the “Viana Festas” Committee, of the Viana do Castelo City Council, and the dedication to this tradition and the commitment to its maintenance are increasing. There could be no real Pilgrimage without them. Along with the rocket workers and Zés P’reiras, they are the ones who announce the Festival, right at the first dawn.

His presence gained increasing importance and the painting “Revista de Gigantones e Cabeçudos” in the emblematic Praça da República became essential, as did his presence in the Ethnographic Parade and his tours through the city streets, always accompanied by drumming. of the bass drums.

Francisco Cruz is one of the current artisans of bigheads in Viana do Castelo and creates them as he used to, reusing cardboard and old paper. In the work shown in the photos, the construction process begin with the creation of a structure of oval-shaped cardboard strips, leaving an opening for what will be the mouth of the large head and through which the user can see. He created the details of the face and hair using also rolled up and wrinkled newsprint. He cut the structure with several layers of scraps of old paper (flour sacks and newspapers) and glue. Afterwards, he improves some details with paper pulp that he produces in his workshops. Then he adds another coating of pieces of paper to eliminate as much of the imperfections as possible and make the head more human. The big head is painted and varnished, for a better finish and safe use (it can even catch some rain). This way people will be ready to circulate through the streets to the sound of Zabumbas or Zés P’reiras.

All this in several days…

There is another process for building big heads using a previously created mold, which is then coated with successive layers of pieces of paper and made in two halves. But, according to this artisan, this method is not so creative, as the base of the big head is always the same. The differences are given in the details created in paper pulp. However, for a process of repetition, it turns out to be more practical and reduces the time for carrying out the pieces.

According to its author, the big head presented here, from the preparation of the materials to its exhibition at the Craftsman's Workshop, is named “Maria Taipeira”, in honor of D. Maria Arminda, whom he, as a young man, still knew and who was inspired by an old photo.

                                                 By Abílio Azevedo and Francisco Cruz, 2019


VASCONCELOS, Maria Emília (1980). Gigantones, Cabeçudos and Zabumbas, Offprint, Vol.4 Cadernos Vianenses, Vol.4.


Francisco Cruz, Craft/art teacher, Portugal


Beatriz Vidal, Craft/ Art teacher, Brazil

Invitation, By Flor Gomes

It is with great joy that I communicate and invite you to my exhibition "Nas Mãos Leva..or In Hands Takes", of painting on wood sculpture, at the Portuguese Embassy in Dili, East Timor.


Images of Some Sculptures

Who is Flor Gomes?

Former student at the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo. She has a BA in Visual Education and Crafts in 1993, at the Higher School of Education (ESEVC) and she has an MA in Art Education at ESEVC.

She has been teaching since 1993. Since 2020 she lives and works in the Portuguese School of Dili, in East Timor. She is currently member of the National Plan for the Arts team at the Portuguese School of Dili.

She has exhibited regularly since 2000, in individual and group exhibitions, in Portugal and abroad.

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