Curator’s Statement

An itinerary exhibition taking the Portuguese rural world to major cities in Portugal and other countries also affected by the phenomena of depopulation, environmental desertification and economic decline.

This exhibition grew out of a research project coordinated by the architect and researcher Cristina Rodrigues and presents the borough of Idanha-a-Nova as a case study. This borough is located by the border with Spain in an area known as Raia.

Selected Portuguese and British artists were invited to create artwork about the Portuguese rural world and about the reality of Idanha-a-Nova in particular. The exhibition encapsulates their vision in a physical space where narratives and issues are brought to life in an attempt to engage the public in the debate about the importance of rural regeneration.

“This exhibition has been designed for the general public with the aim of renewing the sense of citizenship and to involve everyone in the debate.”

Cristina Rodrigues’s portraits feature Portuguese people from young and older generations in their daily lives and sharing unique moments at local meetings in rural Idanha-a-Nova. The young artist Ana Mena is one of the most striking figures in this exhibition featuring in Rodrigues’s portraits while kneading bread in her fight for survival. In her photographs the curator and artist portrays young people, their strength and perseverance against life’s adversities. This exhibition illustrates the importance of the younger generations to the country and how they can contribute towards rural regeneration and change the severe economic situation the country is facing.

The exhibition is structured with a variety of displays making up a narrative that tells tales from rural Portugal to urban populations. These tales have been passed verbally from generation to generation but are still unfamiliar in urban areas.

By combining photographs, delicate glass sculptures or hard human sculptures in metal with displays echoing sounds that have been lost in our subconscious, the curator brings to life elements of Portuguese culture that acquire a contemporary feel in this museum.

Arch. Cristina Rodrigues

Founder and Curator

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