During the past few weekends, Eduardo Salavisa, sketcher, and Alexandra Prado Coelho, journalist, have been teaching a graphic journalism workshop in Museu Bordalo Pinheiro in Lisboa. The workshop is inspired on the weekly column “Crónica Urbana” printed in Público, where a journalist writes a chronicle to be coupled with a sketch done on site by an illustrator.
Durante os últimos fins-de-semana, o Eduardo Salavisa, desenhador, e a Alexandra Prado Coelho, jornalista, têm estado a leccionar uma oficina de jornalismo gráfico no Museu Bordalo Pinheiro em Lisboa. A oficina é inspirada na coluna semanal “Crónica Urbana” do Público, em que um jornalista escreve uma crónica acompanhada de um desenho feito no local por um ilustrador.
We spent the second and third classes at Lisboa’s horseback riding club (Sociedade Hípica Portuguesa), gathering information for a story to be compiled in a single reportage with sketches done on site. The next post will feature my results for this final assignment. Stay tuned!
Passámos a segunda e a terceira sessões na Sociedade Hípica Portuguesa, no Campo Grande, juntando elementos para uma história, para ser compilada numa única reportagem com desenhos feitos no local. O próximo post terá a minha reportagem resultante deste trabalho final. Fiquem atentos!
The 23rd of May was a day to celebrate biodiversity in the grounds of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, a lush park in the heart of Lisboa. Designed by landscape architect Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles in the late sixties, around an iconic building complex, the park holds several flora and fauna species, as well as a few sculptures, an amphitheater and a central pond. Two art museums and other art and cultural infrastructures are connected by several paths through the park, in a carefully designed and intricate network of art, leisure and nature. During the warmer weekends, Lisboetas flock to this public but safeguarded park seeking coolness, silence, outdoorsy leisure and a place to meditate.
The biodiversity day celebrations motivated several activities in the Gulbenkian grounds, including an Urban Sketchers Portugal sketch meeting. The job was to focus on flora alone. Not being a specialist, I chose my subjects by aesthetics alone. Would be nice to have a specialist insight on the species in the sketches. Volunteers anyone?
On the 21st of April, the Central Bank of Portugal, together with GECoRPA – A business organization dedicated to heritage, and ICOMOS – International Council on Monuments and Sites, held a full-day conference about the future of the Baixa Pombalina, the historical downtown of Lisboa, as a potential UNESCO world heritage site. The application process seems to be stuck in the meanders of political maneuvers and no one has the full picture as to what is actually going on. The conference’s mission was to put everything in evidence and in perspective to everyone involved directly or indirectly in this process. The contributions ranged from engineering and architectural specialists, showing studies and successful architecture designs, but also representatives from the political arena and historians and thinkers with some degree of knowledge about the matter at hand.
The core value of the Baixa Pombalina is that it was a landmark in the world’s urban design. It was a exemplary masterplan in the broader sense of the word, as it solved the housing problem for countless victims of the 1755 earthquake, managed to bring Lisboa’s center to the state-of-the-art cities club with a seismic-resistant prefab architecture design, established the terms for the city’s growth for centuries to come, and was planned with financial and political mechanisms that enabled it to be built and to endure for ages to come.
While the final goal – the application to take the Baixa Pombalina to the UNESCO council – remains fuzzy and distant, and in the hands of far too many variables (such as political shifts and economic winds of change), the gains to be had were a full grasp of the complexity of the matter to everyone present. A lot of students were there alongside professionals and bureaucrats, and it is possible that some of them might have something to say in the future on this matter.
There was still time for a quick tour to the future Museu do Dinheiro. Fitting for a building owned by the Central Bank of Portugal, except that the building is actually a former church in the heart of the Baixa Pombalina. Any conspiracy theorists out there?
The 18th of April was the International Day for Monuments and Sites. Several groups of Urban Sketchers Portugal met that day in cities with historical interest to celebrate the date. As I was going south for work, it was a perfect opportunity to get to know Silves from a different perspective – that of a sketcher.
I got there early in the afternoon, but the sketching had been going on since the morning, mostly around the bridge over the Arade and the southern slope of the historical burg, between the river and the castle. A couple of dancers and a photographer chimed in to the town gate square for a photography session with the wall and the urban features as background.
The most visible feature of the monuments and fortifications of the town is the red sandstone of which it’s made. The stones in the ramparts cover up a core of taipa, rammed earth concrete, which makes the walls of Silves a case study in rammed earth endurance. It is left to interpretation whether the walls were historically painted or left bare, but the chromatic contrast between the red sandstone and the whitewashed houses really builds up the atmosphere of Silves.
The town has its own Archaeological Museum featuring exhibits from the paleolithic, all the way through the Roman occupation and the Islamic Iberia and up to the Christian Reconquista, culminating in a few pieces of 16th and 17th century ceramic. By then the town had lost its main role as the center of Algarve, in part due to the diminishing of the river stream and also because the Reconquista was over, so the town became less strategic over time.
No sketch meeting is complete with a joyful dinner and a couple of pleasant conversations. I was thrilled to meet so many new faces and to be reunited to a few old faces.
We spent the rest of the evening in the Archaeological Museum, watching a few presentations from experienced sketchers, their journeys and their stories.
The sketch meeting in the Maritime Museum of Ílhavo was a nice excuse to get away for the weekend.
In the debate of architecturally neutral museums and museums that parttake in the exhibitions within, this one falls in the latter category. It goes back and forth, down and up, meandering along an exhibition of real life ships and objects of life aboard a fishing vessel, plus many many shells and a fish tank with a few unfortunate cod fish.
While during the sketch meeting, everyone was pretty much focused on their sketching activity, it was only later in the day that everybody started to mingle, just before the museum ended. The meeting gave place to a visit to a nearby illustration exhibition of one of the participants.
Sharing sketchbooks and techniques is an inevitable part of any sketch meeting. And so it happened with the fine people of Aveiro Sketchers and I, around a late lunch table of pizza in the fishing town of Gafanha, of the south bank of Aveiro’s lagoon.