A mural dedicated to the Ria Formosa (Formosa Lagoon) delights all boat passengers in Faro The riverside area in Faro has a brand new view over the Ria Formosa: a mural by local artist, Xavier Franck (João Bernardo), designed in honour of the Ria Formosa and the communities whose livelihoods depend on it, aiming, above all, to draw attention to the need to preserve this natural heritage. The mural, which is entitled “Olhar a Ria” (Looking at the Ria), is located behind the Algarve Life Sciences Centre, facing the Ria and all who sail on it. Its original completion date having been last year, it had to be postponed due to logistical issues. However, as of today, those coming or going along Faro pier, close to the city walls, or who sail through the Ria Formosa, will be able to admire this artwork, the latest addition to Faro’s collection of urban art.
The mural was sponsored by Sciaena, with support from the Municipality of Faro, in partnership with the Algarve Life Sciences Centre and the Faro 2027 team (who is responsible for Faro’s bid for European Capital of Culture). All of these entities gathered at the boarding pier on the 27th of June, in a symbolic event in which the artist, Xavier Franck, presented his vision of the work as he added the finishing touches. “It was a pleasure to be able to create a piece of work of this size in the city I call home, dedicating it to a place as special as the Ria Formosa” said the artist, Xavier Franck, explaining that the mural is made up of two faces, one female and one male, that “represent the people of the estuary, but who also firmly take their place as guardians of this ecosystem”. The biodiversity of the landmark is also represented in the work. Cristina Veiga Pires, from the Algarve Life Sciences Centre, congratulated Sciaena for this partnership, which was able to create a closer connection between the Life Sciences Centre building, the Ria Formosa and its people, affirming that “the fact that the work contains a female face is key, in that the sea is generally only linked to men. Countless women also work on and thanks to the lagoon and the sea, however, and are an important part of the history of our region”.
Sofia Martins spoke on behalf of the Faro2027 team, reaffirming the importance of this piece of urban art as a “defining feature of the community of shellfish harvesters and fishers”, emphasising the importance of the project in “establishing a dialogue with this community and contributing to carrying out work done in their honour”. Adriano Guerra, who spoke on behalf of the Municipality, also named the “Ria Formosa the heart of the city” and recalled the importance of preserving it for Faro’s future.