The “Santos d’Afurada” project was awarded an Honorable Mention by the Portuguese Museology Association

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The "Santos d'Afurada" project was awarded an Honorable Mention by the Portuguese Museology Association

The project “Santos d’Afurada. Art, Devotion and Community” was awarded, on May 27th, an Honorable Mention by the Portuguese Museology Association (APOM), in the Partnership category.

This project was a partnership between CITCEM, FLUP, the Master in History of Art, Heritage and Visual Culture, a PhD project in Heritage Studies – specialization in History of Art, and the Afurada Heritage Interpretive Center (CIPA) / Vila Nova de Gaia City Hall.

In 1955, the sculptor Altino Maia designed nine large images for the new Afurada church, inaugurated on July 10 of that year. Following this commission, the artist also executed a Crucifix for the back wall of the chancel and, the following year, the set of fourteen reliefs of the Via Crucis, displayed since then on the north wall of the church. Distancing themselves in plastic and aesthetic terms from traditional images, the sculptures were rejected by the community, which soon gave them derogatory epithets such as “Black Saints” or “Saints of the Rodillas”. Although the sculptor defended the individual and free character of the creative act and this as a mirror of the author’s artistic conception, it is certain that the images were confined and enclosed in sacristy closets after Father Joaquim, the defender and protector of these sculptures for four decades, left. The pieces have thus created a gap between the concept of a work of art and the sculptural image as an agent of devotion, which necessarily requires reflection and dialogue.

The project “Santos d’Afurada” aims, in this sense, to make Altino Maia’s images public, to make their author known, to understand the reasons for the commission, to expose the plastic characteristics of his work, to reflect on the reasons that led the community to reject the images and to study, above all, Afurada in its double condition of place and community.

The exhibitionSantos d’Afurada is available on the Google Arts & Culture platform(Part I and Part II).