The most iconic flower and cherished by the city now gains a permanent place in a street art mural on Rua Antero de Quental, and in an installation that, these days, coexists with the green and flowery spaces of São Lázaro Garden. Street artist, Third, and architect’s duo FAHR021.3 paid homage and immortalised the camellia in the form of art.
Not even the most inattentive person can remain indifferent to the mural entirely dedicated to camellias, which now lines up and embellishes the side of the municipal building at the intersection between Rua Antero de Quental and Rua de Damião de Góis.
For the artist from Porto, Nuno Palha (Third), chosen to embody in graffiti the flower that sailed from the Asian continent to Porto, the great inspiration for the mural entitled “Casa das Camélias” was exactly the affection of the citizens for this plant.
“In this image I created, I tried to represent the home of a camellia’s lover, hence this image of the interior, which later also goes outside. The opening of the sky, the swallows themselves that make a reference to the spring season, I wanted them to be an invitation to ease the lockdown, so that people could come, see and enjoy this work”, details the artist, who will be happy if the work brings smiles to those who stop at the red light before proceeding with their journey. "To give them some joy over the course of these days," he says.
The mural that covers the side wall of the Municipal Department of Trade and Tourism is included in the Porto Street Art Programme. It was "the best way to celebrate and give back the camellias to the city" in such an unprecedented year, says town councillor Catarina Araújo.
Already in the iconic Marques de Oliveira Garden, it is possible to glimpse these days - in addition to the various camellia trees, now in bloom, that decorate the green spaces - an installation designed by the collective FAHR 021.3.
Both artists and architects by trade, Filipa Almeida and Hugo Reis, built an object inspired by the appearance of this plant’s petals and which intends to maintain the living tradition of celebrating the flower that the city adopted about 200 years ago. Arranged in one of the garden's main squares, enabling those who cross the entrance gates to immediately glimpse the metal platform, the work intends to be an object of reunion and socialising in this green space of Invicta.
“It is a concentric design, which involves this idea of reunion a lot, especially in the times we are living. Gardens can play a very important role in bringing people closer together, also associated with the celebration itself, with the flowers, with the colour, with all the joy that it can arouse”, adds the architect.
As for Filipa Almeida, the purpose of the installation is the same: “to provide a stage for people to perform and the piece is not to be finished by us, but also by the work and the will of other people”.
The piece can be enjoyed for the time being at São Lázaro Garden, where it will remain until the end of June, and then on to what will be his definitive address, at Parque de São Roque Garden.
Both artworks is the result of an invitation launched by the municipality to the three artists, given the impossibility of holding this year the already traditional Camelia’s Exhibition, which during March usually fills the city with initiatives around the theme. "We had to celebrate what is the city's flower, the camellia, something we have done in recent years, in a very special way, with an exhibition and a series of initiatives", justifies the deputy mayor of Porto City Hall, Filipe Araújo.
Also known as Japonica, these flowers originating in countries like China, Japan and Vietnam, have a strong connection with Invicta, since it was from here that they spread throughout the North of Portugal and also in Galicia.
With a very rich tradition of growing and creating countless internationally recognised varieties, Porto is, therefore, the City of Camellias par excellence, in a connection that has been renewed every year and that will now be recognised for posteriority, through these two artistic works.