Porto’s Alma 2
I think it is the color of your veil that brings Rafael’s Madonna to my mind when describing you. People probably only know the two famous little angels which somehow merged into a pop art sell out. I remember this vibrant blue of the Sistine Madonna in Dresden. So again, I have to say, there is something divine about you, whether you look at it in a religious or an artistic way. Your halo perfectly complements that shade of blue, but I have to say, it could also be a Chinese umbrella or sunshade. Admittedly, I like how you leave the signs open to religious interpretation, its ambiguity. One might also compare you to a Barlach sculpture, but is this really the reason why you are here? To be interpreted within the context of art history? I doubt that. Yes, you are art and yes, one can interpret your depiction by looking at other artist but you are so much more than all of them combined. To understand you, there is no need for art education, nor a person able to explain your meaning; one doesn’t even have to buy a ticket to an exhibition. Porto is my museum and to get to know me, you have to really experience me, experience Porto. I don’t want to be marked on some map or anything like that. I mean it would be cool, if people had heard about me. But please, discover me by making use of your own senses, come and try to find me without relying on a guide. Because it is really about discovering this city and you find my sacredness only in my urbanity. Does this sound weird to you? You think one cannot be both urban and sacred? Oh I am telling you. It is in these unknown streets, below these hills, in the periphery where the poor and the authentic Portuguese culture reside that you find religion, belief, hope and the honest face of Porto. You won’t find a Madonna covered in gold and placed in a spot of significance. Even in this picture, a car almost covers me completely. But that’s ok, you know, that’s how it should be. I am living amongst the people here, I am truly there in their everyday life. I am watching them, I am looking out for them, I accompany their suffering, their pain, I give them hope and beauty, I make them smile make them respond. And that is more than any Madonna in a museum or a church can ever imagine.