Espigar nas Gentes
The area around St. Bento Station in Porto, Portugal, is a vibrating area that despite somewhat neglected, still preserves a lot of authenticity and carisma, thanks to its history and neighbourhood life.
With this project, “Espigar nas Gentes” (Flowering on People), each illustrator from a group of five (André da Loba, Júlio Dolbeth, Mariana a Miserável, Mariana Rio and me, Nicolau) met two inhabitants of this area, selected by a social solidarity association, and made an illustration of each person's life story.
The works were exhibited in the train station and inside the trains, but also painted by us in walls or doors of the streets around the station.
The people I met were Christian and Paulo.
Christian, a romanian gipsy, was a drug consumer and lived in these streets for some years after he arrived in Portugal. He's now sober and an activist in an association that provides support for the homeless (Saber Compreender) and also a drug consumers' association (CASO). I tried to represent the strength that he says helped him get his life together, and to make an association with the many vacant buildings in the area that could shelter those in need. Chris actually used some, back in the days. Those houses should be open, like we should be open to the world, friends and love, says Chris.
Paulo, son of the owner of the unique all-blue Tasca Alfredo Portista, devoted to FC Porto. Paulo grew up on these streets and now runs the tasca. He trained Valadares FC for several years. He told me that the thing he misses most from those years are the strong solidarity bonds that existed in the neighborhood, of which the Tasca was a main center. They even held a small neighbourhood loan bank. So I drew the bonds between people in the Tasca's characteristic color.
“Espigar nas Gentes” was an initiative included in the extended project LOCOMOTIVA, sponsored by Porto Lazer (Porto City Municipality).
Special thanks to Lara Seixo Rodrigues from Mistaker Maker for inviting me for this amazing project, and to everyone involved.
Produced by Mistaker Maker
Documentary by Diffuse
Photos by Miguel Oliveira