Monday, 30 December 2013

Street Art project by the river Tagus, Lisbon - The 29th of December 2013

As I drove along the Tagus river shore last week I couldn't help noticing a rather exquisite street Art composition covering the façade of a house in the Jardim do Tabaco area and the reason I didn't stop to admire it from a closer perspective was because I knew I would be back sometime later with my camera.

This Sunday I decided to photograph it having been surprised by the realisation that two more façades had different compositions, each of which more fascinating than the other.

I would soon find out it had been a joint venture involving two artists - Pixel Pancho and Vhils and each of their utterly different artistic techniques was highlighted in the composition. Pixel Pancho is known  for his futuristic approach using humanised-looking robots reflecting contemporary scenarios, whilst Vhils has been made known for using a rather unique visual language based on the exploration of  non-conventional techniques, amongst which explosives and chiselling are incorporated to remove the superficial layers of the walls and thus create etchings.

One façade depicted an androgynous-like character together with a robotic creature and the other a chiselled male figure blowing in the direction of a wooden boat strongly fastened by a robotic hand as if discreetly pushing it towards the river, just a few metres away.

The objective of the "Underdogs" 2013 Urban Art exhibition to which this particular composition pertains has certainly had an impact on people (whichever it might have been) as I managed to witness whilst taking the photos (almost everyone passing by had to stop and look at it). Taking into account the fairly young age of both artists I am sure a brilliant artistic career lies ahead for them.


Friday, 27 December 2013

An Armenian sketchbook by Vasily Grossman ...

Because of the difficulty in finding books on Armenia, my next long travelling destination, I ordered a few books by post. Having got "An Armenian sketchbook" I couldn't help putting it down, having thus read it in two days.

"(...) endowed with an air of absolute spontaneity, as though he is simply chatting to the reader about his impressions of Armenia- its mountains, its ancient churches, its people - while also examining his own thoughts and moods" Grossman captivated me with his style of writing, his incredibly detailed descriptions of people, as if one were standing by them, not to mention his "loquacious"  primary opinions and impressions on whatever he experienced during his two month stay in Armenia .

"Christmas 'spirit" maintained throughout Christmas at Figueira ...

Very little changed throughout Christmas at Figueira this year despite there being fewer of us. Amidst the strong rain showers and wind storms the family "Christmas' spirit" was maintained mostly due to my ninety year old mother, whose spirits  were always high as if she were (and I am sure she was) enjoying the night like the youngest one in the family, my seventeen year old nephew.

Like every year my brother Miguel, my daughter Mia and I ventured into the coastline area on Christmas day though we didn't stay long this time.  Outside the family boundaries a lot had changed, including the weather and with it ourselves longing to get back to the warmth of the home we always seem to return to no matter what ...

Our childhood memories keep on living in our hearts much like the spirit of Christmas ... till next year and every year that will follow, hopefully still with the matriarch of the family ...

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The latest books I have read ...

I have recently finished two books I really enjoyed and which despite being completely different portrayed countries at crossroads and the role silence played whether due to impairment or necessity.

I must confess that what drew me to the first one was the title - "Painter of silence" and an inner curiosity to find out what it really was about, whilst in regards to the second one it was the need to further continue reading about Afghanistan albeit in the perspective of a European journalist. 

"Harding writes with exquisite restraint ... her deceptively simple prose gives a startling beauty to the ordinary, and evokes great depth of suffering." by the Gardian

"Seierstad writes of individuals, but her message is larger."  by the Washington Post Book World"

Santa Maria recorded moments from the 10th to the 13th of December 2013

The very few moments I have recorded in photo form whilst I was in Santa Maria were the images of both groups I was teaching to and what I could see from my hotel room veranda every morning. Time might have allowed me to take some photographs by the end of the day but I felt more like relaxing than venturing into the little corners of the island I had had the possibility of photographing not long before.

There is no doubt my teaching activities bring about an unrecorded joy to my day-to-day life. Students do make a difference in my working routine and it is thanks to them it feels more important than it would if they weren't part of it.    


José Manuel, Margarida, Victor, Rui, Noureddine, Eduardo, Ricardo, Elda and Anabela (from left to right).

Azores, Ponta Delgada airport painted panels - The 9th of December 2013


Having rushed to the airport ahead of time so as not to be caught into another pouring down of rain I unexpectedly found time to look at the lounge as I never had before and was extremely surprised to discover some upper painted panels I had been unaware of in my previous stopovers.

They were beautifully organised in terms of  airport related issues as well as colours. No airport staff seemed to have been forgotten from the ladies cleaning the lounge to the crew members walking by or the passengers moving about in distinct scenarios. 

A little farther along some different painted approach scenes related to Aviation caught my attention as well. 

I was still wet and feeling uncomfortable but those artistic representations released some of my anxiety and in no time I was finally flying to Santa Maria, my final destination.