These artists from Porto use their skills to create a unique and fascinating street landscape, one that is lovely to watch. Here is a glimpse of that street work, with the prospect of an in-person visit when lockdown measures thus allow it. Rafi die Erste and Godmess honour personal storytelling or the mule pannier, aka the water baskets, which is a folk tradition for carrying the pitchers by mule to fetch water.
Passers-by can appreciate the work by Rafael (Rafi die Erste) and Tiago Gomes (Godmess), two of the 28 artists that were summoned by the also urban artist Hazul, the curator of the Programa de Arte Urbana do Porto – Porto Urban Art Programme, to take part in this initiative.
Rafi immediately agreed and decided to paint one of the EDP Transformation Substations, located in Rua do Vilar; the result is the visual poem inspired by the “The Butterfly's Burden”, a book by Palestinian writer and poet Mahmoud Darwish.
“I paint and include personal symbols, things that I like in my drawings; my dogs are part of my life”, explained Rafi. “Throughout my life, I have always used drawing as a therapy and, at this point, my life and my drawings, they mix”.
Rafi is the artist name of Teresa Rafael, an architect from Porto that has found a way of expressing her artistic identity through graffiti. And despite having painted many walls in and out of the country, “this wall [in Rua do Vilar] is really special because it is the first wall I paint in the city where I was born. I have painted in many places, but I had never painted in Porto”.
In Campo 24 de Agosto, in front of the Metro exit, Tiago Gomes, aka Godmess, was inspired by the local stories. “I really enjoy that the work fits the space where it will be framed”, the artist clarified.
Godmess was born and raised in Porto, as well, and he sought to honour the “aguadeiras”, the women who were in charge of transporting and selling water through town.
Using a pictorial and contemporary language, the artist’s purpose was to blend past and present in the same site, a place where once was the “Arca de Água de Mijavelhas”, a reservoir built in the sixteenth century, which supplied water to the fountains of Porto, and was handy to those who did not own a well”, Godmess explained, furthering that “there is an historic search and then I deal with it in my work, by giving it a more contemporary approach, and that can be seen through the shape and colours I draw”.
It took the artist about six days to complete the mural and it conveys a symbiosis of nature and women, where the shades of blue and yellow are the stars of a narrative that awes those who happen to pass by it. “All comments have always been very positive, people love it”, Godmess enthused.
The programme of Porto Urban Art puts forward street art by local artists. The initiative is implemented by the municipal company Ágora – Cultura e Desporto do Porto. The new set of urban art interventions will remain in place for one year.