Monday, 20 April 2015

The photographer Artur Cabral says "Obrigado" to the people of Principe

We met Artur Cabral when he took the portratits of our team that are now featuring on our website. Since then we've been following Artur's works and projects - one of them caught our attention, not only for its concept but also because it is focused on a very special location - Principe Island, where we're participating as cost consultants in two resort projects, also working with HBD, the owner of the projects.

The project "Obrigado" (Portuguese for "thank you") pays a tribute to the elderly common people of Principe island, that carry with them the history, culture and identity of this place. We invited Artur to share this projects with us - "obrigado" also for him!

"A thank-shaped picture to those people who both taught and cherished us, sharing with us their teachings, smiles, stories and experiences. A tribute to the elderly, trying to capture and transmit the smiles on their faces, visibly marked by years of life. 
After an initiative in Lisbon at the end of 2013, I could bring the project to Principe Island (Sao Tome and Principe) with the indispensable support of HBD, South African Mark Shuttleworth's company, which operates on this island in businesses related to tourism but always with the concern of aiding and cooperating with local communities. When I presented them the “OBRIGADO” project, they thought that this tribute was fully justified and deserved by all who helped make the Prince what it is today.

By the end of 2014 I travelled to Principe Island where, with the help of Rita Alves (an anthropologist at HBD) travelled through all communities and “roças” to meet, talk and portray the "old young", as we like to call them. Those moments of lively conversation were key to achieve the smiles that were sometimes hidden, due to the fatigue of a quite difficult life. Nothing a good conversation with cherished good mood cannot overcome.

I returned in February 2015 to continue the project, with its exhibition set in the central square of the island, where one could see the faces in large format prints, about 90 people photographed and honored. It was fantastic to see the reaction of the population to this initiative, wanting to see closely, recognize, read stories, laugh, thank, share with friends. Hundreds of people flocked to the square, school teachers bringing their classes, children, adults and seniors, everyone wanted to come to the exhibition meeting, some to see, others to seek someone's name, others just with that own curiosity of anyone seeing something new.

Meanwhile, in parallel to the exhibition, we returned to contact all honorees to offer them a project remembrance – a printed photo, so they could save, or pass on to future generations.

I am very proud of this initiative, which honors those who deserve and causes smiles to everyone involved in the project. I take this opportunity to once again thank those who helped make this possible. “OBRIGADO” (thank you) to all portrayed, the team of HBD for believing and support the project, and the island of Principe in a general way, for the way I was greeted and welcomed!

I’ll surely come back!

- Artur Cabral 

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