Sung Paintings - stage and gallery performances
The Friends of Machico Library, headed by Vatican’s Minister of Education and Culture (Cardinal José Tolentino Mendonça) invited me to do a piece for the entrance of their library in Madeira Island, were I grew up. Emanuel Gaspar was the curator and the artist Miguel Angelo Rocha was also invited to create his own piece for that space. On December 26th, 2022, "the wooden man / o homem de madeira" painting premiered. I did a Sung Painting performance of that painting. This short video of that performance ends with the text quoting a beautiful Fausto Bordalo Dias song called "A guerra é a guerra / War is war". Its refrain reads:
"I jump in the dark
With my teeth I hold the knife
And with my coloured eyes I swear:
Come see the fire in the sea
The fish on fire
Anna, come and see
Oh Anna come and see
Oh Anna come and see"
This painting relates to a centuries old local practice of warning neighboring villages about coming pirates by lighting big piles of wood on the top of hills. Throughout time, Machico being historically a Catholic fishermen area, these fires it merged into a Catholic celebration held in late August. On a specific day at dusk, hand-built large scale images of boats, fishes and Catholic symbols are fire-lit on the big hills surrounding the city. Each burning drawing, made out of oil dipped rag balls mounted on wood and metal structures, is the work of a specific neighborhood. One of those groups is in charge of lighting up with fire an old zigzag path that goes up on of the hills. In the end, they all come running down the slopes to the center of the bay to watch the valley surrounded by burning images and to have a swim in the ocean.
At the XIV International Montemor-o-Novo Puppet Meeting, organized by Alma d'Arame, I made a full concert-performance from the life stories I found when in artist residency with the Sung Paintings project. This performance was fully subtitled in English and had the creative assistance of Maria Petersen and the light design of Nuno Borda d'Água.
Sound performance at the "broken temple, unbreakable spirit" solo show, Monitor Rome Gallery, 2022