“Luz sobre a Ria” – Junta de freguesia de Santa Luzia (Tavira)

On Sunday 7 April an exhibition opens in the Junta de Freguesia de Santa Luzia Tavira.That might not seem so unusual to you the reader. However, to me this exhibition is an expression of the hope and vitality that exists in this beautiful part of Portugal.

F/18.1 Is a group of local photographers based in Vila Real who are using their art form to help raise the capital required to restore an old style fishing boat currently located in Cacelha Velha.

The group are creating a series of exhibits across the Algarve to promote this cause and through their photography highlight the issues created by the powers that be´’ against certain areas of the Algarve´s and Portugal’s historical heritage.

The name given to the exhibitions is ‘Luz sobre a Ria’ or ´Light on the Ria’ but the recipient of the proceeds of the funds raised by the exhibitions is an old style fishing boat called O Golfinha. The boat is desperately in need of restoration. Prior to this campaign it was destined for a funeral pire in the Ria Formosa. It represents the wonderful historic past of this area, whilst Paulo and Fatima, the driving force behind the project represent the future.

Both need to be fostered, nurtured and demand your respect and recognition. Paulo and Fatima both claim to be unemployed. What they mean is that in a conventional world they are not employed in the traditional sense of the term. From what I can see they are oversubscribed and desperately short of daily hours to fulfil all the projects they are involved with.

In association with ADRIP Cacelha they intend restoring the boat now known as ‘ O Golfinho’ and housing it in an open air museum in Cacelha with two previously restored boats.

ADRIP (Associação de Defesa, Reabilitação, Investigação e Proteção do Património Natural e Cultural de Cacela) is based in Cacela Velha. The organisation was formed in 1991 and it´s main objectives are the Defense, Rehabilitation, Research and Promotion of Cultural and Natural Heritage of Cacela. Over the nearly two decades of existence ADRIP has developed numerous and varied projects in defense of Cancela Velha, the local population and its historical and cultural heritage and natural.

The exhibition in Santa Luzia is the 7th one held in the Algarve. The location of Santa Luzia seems very appropriate, being the ´Capital of the Polvo´and with a rich tradition of fishing. It is also very much a living fishing village with it´s own small fleet of fishing vessels run by the stoical fishermen who form the character and backbone of the village.. It is also home to a group of young Portuguese men and women who despite the inherent economic problems faced by the area promote all that is good in this great part of the Algarve. The music, traditional arts and crafts and a respect for the elderly through their volunteer work withAssociação Âncora and Associação Almadrava. Thank you for all your splendid work.

The campaign needs to raise over 5000€ so the exhibition so please come along enjoy the works on display and contribute as much as you can to helping with the restoration of O Golfinho and a small part of the heritage of this part of the Algarve.

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João Sousa

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17 February, 2017
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