In Lisbon’s Mouraria neighborhood, the painter and anthropologist Lorenzo Bordonaro has decorated some of the streets with artistic compositions revolving around keys and locks that have lain abandoned for over 20 years. It is a kind of everyday archeology: Bordonaro has also rescued plates, spoons, old photographs and glass bottles from a disused local factory, and with them managed to save entire walls of this rundown district.
It is one of the many examples of a strong artistic discipline in the Portuguese capital: street art, which, occurring away from the museums, goes in search of its public instead of waiting for them to come to it.
In the case of Bordonaro, City Hall is also helping him out – not just by providing funds, but also by giving the necessary permission for him to work. He says he found some of the objects in lockers abandoned by the factory workers: “It is unsettling to learn that they were everyday objects that were used on a daily basis. Who used them? When?”
Not far away lies the studio of Camilla Watson, a British photographer in love with Lisbon who is the author of a series of photographs of Mouraria’s elderly residents. These, too, have been hung along the area’s streets — the very same walls against which they were photographed — and the result is a moving artistic tribute to a unique neighborhood via its inhabitants.
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