Art Hanging Out in Lisbon

Art hanging out in Lisbon's Alfama
The laundry hanging out to dry from the balconies is one of Lisbon’s most emblematic images. You walk around Alfama and other historical residential districts and you’ll see bed sheets, towels, t-shirts, and even underwear drying in the sun, in the good old Mediterranean way.

And if you’re in Lisbon until the end of October you’ll also notice some other colorful pieces of fabric that could very well be a painting in a museum. That is in fact not too far from the truth, as these originally were paintings and drawings by Dutch artist Guus Slauerhoff.

Those banners make up an installation called “Facets of Life,” consisting of 85 paintings reproduced on transparent cloth. Their images and display were inspired by Fado music and Alfama’s floating laundry.

The artist aims to connect the history of Fado in Alfama to the contemporary life in the neighborhood, where the music genre still has a huge presence in daily life. The banners measuring 240x150cm hang from many of the neighborhood’s oldest houses, transmitting the feeling of melancholy or nostalgia that both the music and Alfama often bring.

Slauerhoff fell in love with Fado in 2003 when he first heard a Cristina Branco CD. The songs of that Fado singer fascinated him enough to visit Lisbon in 2004, when he created an exhibition called “The Soul of Fado” for the Fado Museum.

This is his second project in Lisbon and looks like it won’t be his last.