Sciaena, a Portuguese NGO fighting for marine conservation, Faro Council and several Portuguese artists have come together as part of the Mar Motto event, to carry out a series of outdoor art instalments that aim to draw the community's attention to the subject of Preserving the Ocean.
The first artist to get stuck in was Tiago Hesp, with countless passers-by slowing down to watch him working on a 45m-long mural entitled “A Pesca e o Peixe” (Fishing and Fish) on Rua Pintor Carlos Porfírio, in Faro. Completed in June, it is now firmly integrated into the city’s collection of permanent street art. In addition to this mural, Tiago Hesp ran a workshop held by Sciaena and the Faro Municipal Council on the 4th and 5th of June, at Tomás Cabreira Secondary School, which aimed to boost the project’s interaction with Faro’s local community. To ensure this aim was met, the workshop was attended by Visual Arts students and students from a PIEF (Integrated Programme for Education and Training) class at the secondary school, who worked together on an art project. During the workshop, students were able to learn about problems faced relating to the sea, such as marine litter and industrial fishing, while debating different ways of thinking about art and its importance as a tool for raising awareness and social transformation. Students also got the chance to talk about the design and creation of the mural by artist Tiago Hesp, and subsequently carry out a graphic and conceptual disassembly of his work, recreating new versions of the mural by adapting and reconstructing its various elements using varied materials to display their individual views and inspirations.
Tiago Hesp stressed that “in a society that tries to mould us into a standard shape, inhibiting individuals from making mistakes, the role of art is to open people up to discoveries and learning in a dimension where there are no wrong answers. In a space such as this, knowledge of one’s inner self can be deepened and trust built without any fear of the differences that exist between individuals that make up a community”. Nicolas Blanc, a member of Sciaena, mentioned that “the organisation actively seeks to create these moments of awareness unconventionally, in this case, through an art workshop that served to allow students to view the oceans from a different perspective. It is also crucial to involve artists such as Tiago Hesp, who understand the relevance of environmental issues and try to convey them through certain pieces of work”. The Faro Municipal Council emphasises the importance of this type of event, and of art installations having an increasingly direct connection with communities, so that the message shared through art reaches people more clearly, while also bringing artists closer to local realities. The Mar Motto event will be exhibited in Faro for a second time in 2020 (the date has not yet been announced), aiming to challenge Portuguese artists to let their creativity flow once again, creating thought-provoking works on the importance of protecting the sea and all the species that call it home. One of the aims of the event is to raise funds that can be put towards initiatives run by Sciaena to raise awareness of the importance of Preserving the Oceans.