“It is a project to open the doors of the city of Funchal to art and culture. They were not “virtual entrances” rather old and forgotten. These doors are from abandoned shops and deteriorated areas that take on new life, in order to sensitize people filling the streets with cultural and artistic events.
The idea for this project, where did it come from?
After walking several times by the old town of the city of Funchal and take pictures of what I saw, people wondered why I only photographed things “old and deteriorating” and my answer was that “I photograph what I see.” So in August of 2010 I was invited to an event called PechaKucha to present the project “art of the open doors”. The first door in which an intervention took place was in the number 207 of Carreira Street in Funchal by Martinho Mendes on August 20th, of 2010.
When was painted the first door?
The first door to be painted in the Rua Santa Maria was on April, the 6th, of 2011 at number 77 by the artist Mark Milewski. It took longer than 1 month to be completed, since the technique used by the artist is very laborious. Although, the first artistic intervention was completed by Gonçalo Martins at number 81-83 of Santa Maria street. He began his work on April, the 9th of 2011 and was completed on the same day.
Did you ever imagined that the project would eventually be embraced by the people and rely on volunteer participation?
The project started “slowly” because in the beginning there was a lot of reluctance and mistrust of the people in the street. It was difficult to contact each of the owners and go asking for permission to make interventions. Artists of the island of Madeira were invited to participate, but at the beginning and even now there are some reluctance to “blend in” with minor “reputed” artists.
Keep in mind that this project is “open” to any citizen who is willing to offer his creativity to the city of Funchal to revitalize this very poor area of town.
All that is asked is respect for the surroundings and to the other participants.
I must say that from the beginning it was clear that this project would have wide acceptance and impact on the life of the island, since there is much creativity and the good will of the population. All I had to do is “turn in the spark” to start this “Fiesta” of light and color in the street…
Do you think the “art of painted doors” will eventually spread to other streets?
It started one day in 1994 in the streets of an Italian town of Valloire and now we are on Rua Santa Maria and nearby roads.
Who knows if painted doors cannot appear in other streets of Funchal and why not in other populated areas of the island…
Now my mind is on “other projects” that I’ll be launching soon…”
Photo’s: Helma Geerlings