I was born at 14 December 1933, in a small village placed in
the centre West of Portugal, near the Atlantic coast. I went to school when I
was 5 years old and come out from there when I was 9, to help my father in his
farming. At 20 I joined the Portuguese Army and soon I was sent to Macau, at the
time, a Portuguese colony in the South of China. I remained there 5 years where
I frequented a Portuguese secondary school. In 1960 I come back to Portugal and
I intended to go to the University of Coimbra, to study medicine. Instead I was
sent to Africa, to the North of Angola, another Portuguese colony where,
meanwhile, the war had began.
13 years lasted the Portuguese colonial war (1961-1974). Not voluntary, I have got 8 of them into my bag. 4 times I was sent to war. 2 years each time.
Since the war was over, I was allowed to retire and come back to my origins, to the land I love the most.
How it happened I made paintings
When I was still a young boy, I perceived that I had some skill to sketch. I enjoyed myself reproducing with my hand what I saw with my eyes. Without possibility to go to a proper school, often I went to Caldas da Rainha, to visit galleries and museums. There, I tried to discover how paintings were made and so, bit by bit, I began to paint. At the time, we worked on the field every day of the week from sun rise to sun set. So I had to relay on Sunday to paint. Here are 3 watercolours of that time (1940 decade)...............................
A painting that redeemed me from a sin I have not committed.
The year I joined the army, 1954, I made a lot of paintings. Some of them are still hanged on the walls, where I left them.
In 1955 I went to Macau. It was my intention to develop my painting there, but I suffered a great disappointment. Once there, somebody told me that my painting was corny and out of date. During the 5 years I remained there I made only one painting. There was a special reason to make it. If you want to know why, click on this arrow
During the long period I have been engaged in the war, everything I tried did not satisfied me. So I have destroyed almost all the painting I have made at that time.
When I retired from the army and come back to my birthplace,
I verified that a lot of the wild birds I knew in my youth had disappeared and
others that abounded there were becoming rare. Then I searched the reason of
that tragedy. I have come to the conclusion that it was due to agricultural
pesticides and the criminal actions of hunters. Then, I have started a campaign to denounce
that situation. Associating the image to the word, I have been trying to show my
fellow countrymen how much damage they did to mother nature. Yet I have achieved
some positive results. That certainly will be the last purpose of my paintings.
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