Street Art & Graffiti, September in the City

Street Art & Graffiti, September in the City

Street Art & Graffiti,

September in the City

This month we had a creative wander around the East End area, notably Brick Lane, world famous for its street art. Which has featured artists such as D*Face, Banksy, Ben Eine, Stik, Mr Cenz, Carleen De Sozer and Ant Carver. The area and art, used too in plenty of music videos.

The artists are prolific, with art constantly changing, evolving, in these colourful chaotic streets, as a covered up graffiti masterpiece, makes way for new street art.

This area has a huge history, in the 17th C, brewing, with Benjamin Truman establishing the Black Eagle Brewery on Brick Lane, (home to Design Week), came to the area, alongside being one of the first areas outside of the City, where you could buy fruit & veg! Just imagine that! Immigrants have always settled in the area, French Hugenots escaping religious persecution in France, in the 17th C. And at this time too, the Spitalfields area become a hive for weaving, tailoring and a clothing industry emerged.

Irish and Ashkenzai Jews immigrated to the area in the 19th C, and today the neighbourhood is populated by the Bangladeshi Sytheti community, with the area earning the name of Banglatown. With its diverse history and multi culture, the streets have become a centre and hub for self-expression with street artists. A cool trendy urban ‘hood with bars, curry houses, cafes and colour galore on every corner.

In part, also, when walking down the side roads and no. 4 Princelet Street in particular; with its faded Georgian splendour, it feels like you are either in a movie scene, or indeed a time warp. Such a contrast to the modern day street art, feet away, old and new colliding and cohabiting side by side!

This is what I loved most about the area, that creativity had a place to be expressed, juxtaposed amongst and not so far from
historical property gems from a bygone Georgian age, where one day in passing you could spy a film crew on set.

If you’re in the area take a detour, (the street art will be different for sure), it’s quite unlike any other part of town.

Porto, and have a custard tart!

Porto, and have a custard tart!

Porto, and have a custard tart

 

We recently had a fantastic day in Porto, with a friend who was like a local! We fell in love with the city.

From the old ramshakled houses with dilapidated distressed tiled fronts, which held such charm to the amazing blue tiles on churches and inside the railway station.

It was hard to believe with the irregular angles of the homes, (against anything perspective I’ve known), and rooftops akimbo, that the buildings were actually still standing! The lopsided buildings seem to hold each other up and there worn weary charm was quite beautiful.

As well as walking through the cobbled side streets, where laundry hangs out drying from balconies, seeing the blue tiled churches are a must!

Visit for sure, Igreja Capella Das Almas, the ‘Chapel of Souls’, built in the early eighteenth century. The Chapel stands on Rua Santa Catarina, a busy shopping street in the heart of the city.

The Chapel has a beautiful facade of blue and white ceramic tiles painted with scenes from the lives of saints. The magnificent panels depict moments in the life of St Francis of Assisi, his death and the martyrdom of St Catherine, to whom the chapel is dedicated.

Eduardo Leite painted the tiles in a 18th Century classic style, though they only date back to the early 20th Century, when the exterior was covered in 1929 with the tiles.

The Chapel of Souls is located close to the Bolhao Market, an indoor market, well worth walking round. A Portuguese ‘Borough’ market!

For more gorgeous blue tiles, a must to ‘go see’ is Sao Bento railway station and the Cathedrale de Porto-Novo.

The railway station is just stunning with elaborate tile work that tells the story of Portugal. 20,000 azulego tin glazed ceramic tiles depicts Portugal’s history, it’s royalty, wars and transportation history.

The tiles were placed over a 11 year period (1905 – 1916) by artist Jorge Colaco.

The station is named after a Benedictine monastery that once occupied the space in the 16th Century. The house of worship was torn down in the 19th Century to make way for the railway system. Built by architect Jose Margues da Silva, with the first stone being laid by King Carlos I.

The intricate tile work began five years after the station was built and considering they are now a century old they have withstood the test of time. The sight of the floor to ceiling decoration and the stories they tell are breathtaking.

And please when in Porto, don’t forget to have a custard tart or two, they taste divine!

Matoshinhos City, Portugal

Matoshinhos City, Portugal

Matoshinhos city, Portugal

 

One of the most moving groups of sculpture that I’ve ever seen (on a beach) in Portugal, ‘Tragedy at sea’. By Jose Joao Brito. Also known as ‘The wailing women’.

Inspired by the ‘Sea Tragedy’ of Master Augusto Gomes, the monument is about three metres high with five figures and depicts widows and orphans expressing the loss of loved ones.

This sculpture is found at the northern end of Matosinhos beach. An area bordered with Porto and part of the Porto subregion.

The figures look out to sea with such pain, grief and almost non-comprehending rage and are so evocative. The raw emotion that comes from the women’s faces is palpable, with arms raised as if shouting ‘why’ and as if beating the air with their screams.

‘Tragedia do Mar’, is in memory of the shipwreck of 1947, four trawlers (‘Manuel’, ‘Rosa Faustino’, ’San Salvador’ and ‘Maria Miguel’), where the fishing boats were lost in a storm killing 152 crew. The tragedy left 72 widows and over 200 orphans.

The monument was opened in 2005, by the Mayor, with a few dozen relatives of the deceased fishermen present. Including, Maria Emilia Figueiredo, one of the widows of the wreck and Luis Mendonca, 93, who manage to survive the tragedy. Given that many Matoshinhenses are descendants of the tragedy, the Mayor wanted the town and monument to show solidarity with the families of the victims and in remembrance to the fishermen.

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

 

‘who will buy’.., Love this place, apart from the penalty fare parking ticket the last time I went! Why do they make those signs to read so confusing! (to get your money)! hey ho! Anyway, crowds apart, this street market on a road of gorgeous Victoria shops off Hackney Road is a joy. Beautiful blooms to feast your eyes on, wishing you had more money to spend on the flowers! Urban street caf’s, individual craft, design and homewares shops. And watching everyone, when their arms are full, carrying their wares home – a balancing act, late on a Sunday morn’. And a nice pub lunch too, after with friends..
Borough Market

Borough Market

Borough Market

I always love walking round this place. The sights, sounds and gorgeous smells wafting! More than 100 stalls, selling all produce from cheese, breads to meats.., such choice! Quirky urban beaten up side streets too, with lovely independent retailers on the door step. Cobbles and charm aplenty. And keep being recommended ‘Elliot’s, to go to, must go soon!
Last time I had a tasty hallomi, spicy wrap on the go.., and to think someone has told me chocolate features in a restaurant near..  But hey, when ever I have a meeting near, I always (if the sun is shining), pop into Gelateria 3 bis, for a gelato. How can you resist ‘Italian pistachio, hazelnuts from Piemonte, liquorice from Calabria and Pernigotti Cocoa! Love their website too! And good to read they use quality British ingredients like rhubarb, gooseberries and clotted cream. Cream tea anyone..!

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