Since early January, Fundação EDP (EDP Foundation), along with the team of cultural platform Gerador (@gerador_eu) and small groups of photographers, travel throughout different regions in Portugal, showing the result of several urban art interventions which are included in the project “Arte Pública Fundação EDP” . These encounters during Instameets have an important impact on local populations, especially considering that most of the works were made remotely and in almost forgotten places, and many of these people now have the chance to promote what’s still left of cultural tradition.
Gerador – the Lisbon Cultural Platform
Some Portuguese words can be easily translated into English and the meaning remains the same. Thankfully, Gerador is one of those words that can be described to what it exactly means: to generate ideas, creating events, giving voice to new and old people but especially focusing on one main objective which is promoting every side of Portuguese culture.
Locally based in one of the oldest, noblest and historical neighbourhoods in Lisbon, Lumiar, where until the late 30’s and 40’s green pastures were dotted with palaces, villas, convents and farms, Gerador is a place where Culture gains form and happens, promoting Lisbon events, merging the old and traditional with the new and modern, adding value to the people, being inclusive, allowing local communities to express themselves.
Instameet Arte Pública - Where the Present meets the Future
With the impact of social networks and with the collaboration between Gerador and EDP- Electricidade de Portugal – The Instameet Arte Pública Fundação EDP has already registered places and moments in Trás-os-Montes, Campo Maior (Alentejo), Algarve and Ribatejo, and the importance of social media presence immediately allows the sharing of incredible sight views, “real-life” people and their traditions, also giving the chance to rediscover parishes and villages that are commonly kept away from what is happening in the big cities, namely, a different perspective on culture.
Let’s not forget that in Portugal the “Revolução dos Cravos” held in April 1974, has not yet gave to rural populations, some of them located at the borders of Lisbon, for instance, the chance to a proper education, to new discoveries, new ways of thinking or cultural offer. It is actually a fact that today most villages are left to abandonment as youngsters flee to where they can find a better future. However it is also true that some of them, born and raised in the big cities, are deciding to move back to the country’s origins, the traditional roots and start a new and calmer life. The unbalance is obvious.
This project pretends to make the motto of “Global going Local” coming to life, as said by the director of EDP Social Innovation, Margarida Pinto Correia. More than just helping the local institutions, which “out of the box” ideas are able to rehabilitate the communities where they’re installed, it is important to first listen to people’s needs and then only act, mixing what is traditional with the modern, art and culture that still takes some time to reach the ones who live away from the urban centres.
The urban and public art interventions, an initiative that started in 2015 and currently present in more than 40 localities so far, is based alongside with talks, debates, municipal assemblies. All created with the help of local cultural groups, where the inhabitants are invited to share their own visions, contributing to projects, or even refusing the ideas which are submitted by the invited artists. The collective has, in turn, to readjust the personal projects in such a way they can respond to what has been discussed and that can become a part of the local landscape.
However, more than just to integrate a new art movement around these places, the initiative, which has become even more global, thanks to the power of social media, also allows the characterisation of the social and cultural gaps in society. It is not only about the lack of public funds, it is mainly the lack of personal incentive, local ideas, and community inclusion that creates this division.
It is important to understand and to explain to everyone, as the project pretends, that culture is much more than something for the elite, the economical high masses: it is traditional culture, that comes from the bare land, which is the base of every culture, in this case the Portuguese Culture.
Follow them here: instagram.com/artepublicafundacaoedp
Words by Lisbon captain & correspondent Claudia