Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils, has just left his mark on Vila Nova da Barquinha, in Atalaia. Vhils created an artistic intervention dedicated to potters, a trade which is very traditional in that town.
The chosen canvas was an EDP Distribution transformation station measuring around 7 metres high by 5 metres wide. The work is integrated in ARTEJO, an artistic project carried out with local communities, and it was developed in partnership with EDP Foundation’s Public Arts Programme and the Vila Nova da Barquinha Council.
Vhils’ project had been previously presented at community meetings which included the local population. The work portrays João Caetano, the last potter in Atalaia, shaping clay in his manual wheel using a completely handcrafted process. This intervention is based on a photograph from 2008 by Pérsio Basso, official photographer to the Vila Nova da Barquinha Council.
This is the first of 10 art interventions planned for the four council parishes – Atalaia, Praia do Ribatejo, Tancos and Vila Nova da Barquinha. As well as Vhils, the project included artists Manuel João Vieira, Violant and Carlos Vicente. The work by these artists will shape a public art itinerary which will include the 11 sculptures displayed in Almourol Contemporary Sculpture Park, a park also created in partnership with EDP Foundation and curated by João Pinharanda.
EDP Foundation’s Public Arts Programme promotes art as a tool for social inclusion. Focussed on areas of low population density throughout the country, it enables access to art and the involvement of local residents in new cultural experiences, as well as fostering local development by placing public art pieces in rural areas. All projects are implemented in close partnership with the residents, thus motivating them to take part in community meetings to discuss the artistic intervention proposals to be executed in public spaces.
Founded in 2015, EDP Foundation’s Public Arts Programme is already active in 40 locations in Algarve, Alentejo, Middle Tejo, Ribatejo and Trás-os-Montes. Minho will be the next stage in this itinerary. Xana, Alexandre Farto aka Vhils, Manuel João Vieira, NADA, Samina, Fahr 021.3, Draw and Nuno Pimenta are some of the 35 artists behind the 80 field interventions.