September 6, 2021
Barcelos Figurines has now a stage to shine in the centre of Lisbon, in an exclusive shop that celebrates popular art
Lisbon has opened its doors to the art of Barcelos, welcoming it to the city centre, at Rua de S. Nicolau, number 81. The purest and most genuine tradition from Minho, which finds its popular exponent in the work of the clay artists.
Barcelos Figurines has been colouring our imagination since the 20th century. Now, it welcomes guests at the entrance with the honours of a philharmonic band in figures with impeccable posture and uniforms.
The new store in downtown Lisbon is a stage that presents the Barcelos Figurines and tells its story. Full of light, colour, fantasy, and music from Minho, the shop features a central bandstand that welcomes the magic of Barcelos Figurines, among musicians, processions, nativity scenes, the traditional roosters, saints, “cabeçudos” (big-headed figures) and “minhotas” (women from Minho). There are hundreds of certified pieces, full of Portuguese soul, that define the identity of a people and place the popular art of in the level where it really should be. The official inauguration of the shop will take place on September 6th at an event that will be attended by the President of the Tourism of Porto and North of Portugal, Luís Pedro Martins, the Mayor of Barcelos, Miguel Costa Gomes, the President of Adere-Certifica (certification entity), Teresa Costa and, representing the artisans of Barcelos Figurines Nuno Rodrigues.
As a subsidiary of the pottery industry, this art used to use the clay left over from the production of utilitarian items to create small pieces to fit in the free spaces of the oven. These pieces, useless at the time, were toys sold for pennies at village festivals and fairs. Today, Figurado de Barcelos is not useless at all. It is, as it always was, Art. An anchor of reality, in an artistic and thematic context, full of creative incursions: this is how Minho’s daily life is handcrafted and recreated, creating an imaginary in molded and hand-painted pieces, generated by the hands that shape the world in the interpretation of their reality.
Artisans in focus
The new shop displays various pieces of Barcelos Figurines, bearing the stamp of the artisans who dedicate themselves to this craft, many of whom have embraced the art that previous family generations have also dedicated themselves to. It is in this new shop that the name of each of the artisans is engraved on the walls for future memory: Conceição Sapateiro, Cidália Trindade, Irmãos “Mistério”, Irmãos “Baraça”, João Gonçalves Ferreira & Luísa Melo, Laurinda “Pias”, Rosa Portela, Manuel Gonçalves Macedo, António Ramalho, Irene Salgueiro & António Salgueiro, Maria de Lourdes Duarte Ferreira & Domingos Ferreira Pedro, Júlia Côta, Mina Gallos, Prazeres Côta, Maria Inês Calisto Machado, Rosália Abreu and Maria Helena Pedro da Silva. Each month, the shop will reveal the story of one of the artisans in a street panel that will pay tribute to them. For the opening of the shop, the highlight was Ana Baraça, the pioneer of today’s “Baraça Brothers”. Born in 1904, Ana Baraça had in her genes the fantasy of her childhood. From the desire to create dolls for her grandchildren, she made small pieces in clay that she coloured with bright colours to delight the children. The craft was passed on to her children, and today, with the third generation continuing this art, the Baraça Brothers are one of the most traditional and prestigious families of Barcelos Figurines artisans.