Sunday, June 7, 2009

Old woman at the entrance of her house / Uma velhota à porta de casa


It is sure that you will see one of these characters if you go to any of these villages I'm always painting... You'll see them getting around with the cattle, carrying loads of wood, straw or something else, or simply doing something at the door's entrance, from where they will salute, welcome and chat with you with the genuine friendliness of who doesn't see too many strangers. Most of the time their generation is the sole remnant of a once lively community, more recently drained from their youngsters, departed in search of a better life in the coastal cities or abroad, coming back for holiday only in Summer, ocasionally on Christmas or Easter.
Everytime I see these old people, true living libraries even when they can't write or read, I can't keep myself from thinking that I'm witnessing the last days of an ancestral way of life, many centuries old, because in less than two decades they will disappear themselves with all their wisdom. What will happen then to the villages?
É quase certo que poderá encontrar-se alguma destas personagens se se for a alguma dessas aldeias que estou sempre a pintar... Ver-se-ão a sair com o gado, carregando lenha, palha ou qualquer outra coisa, ou simplesmente em qualquer tarefa à porta de casa, de onde saudarão e conversarão com os visitantes com a genuína amistosidade de quem não vê muita gente de fora. Muitas vezes a sua geração é o que resta de uma outrora movimentada comunidade, mais recentemente esvaziada da gente mais nova, partida em busca de uma vida melhor nas cidades do litoral ou no estrangeiro, regressando para férias apenas no Verão e às vezes no Natal ou Páscoa.
Sempre que vejo estas pessoas idosas, verdadeiras bibliotecas vivas mesmo quando não sabem ler e escrever, não consigo evitar pensar que estou a assistir aos últimos dias de um modo de vida ancestral, talvez com muitos séculos, porque em menos de duas décadas elas próprias terão desaparecido, e com elas a sua sabedoria. O que será então das aldeias?
Fabriano cold-pressed 5"x 7" - 140lb (12,5x18cm - 300g/m2) paper
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10 comments:

nancy elstad said...

A very sobering thought. You want it to go on and never change. Hopefully there will be enough young people return to keep the village alive.
Nice painting.

Paulo J. Mendes said...

It is possible that many of these villages will continue to live, as they can offer a quality of life that is being re-discovered, not to mention those who are starting to buy houses there as holiday retreats, but the kind of people that will inhabit them will be very different - not better or worse - than these shown in my painting. I'm very curious about what the next 20 years will bring...

Rafael Carvalho said...

Durante quanto mais tempo estas imagens perdurarão?
Não me refiro só às simpáticas velhotas, refiro-me também a toda a moldura construída!
Velhos tesouros arquitectónicos, verdadeiro ouro, são diariamente substituídas por pechisbeque e postiças imitações...
Cumprimentos.

Paulo J. Mendes said...

Tenho muita curiosidade em ver o que os próximos vinte anos trarão a estes lugares, sobretudo no que diz respeito à moldura humana: Esvaziamento ou redescoberta? Modo de vida alternativo ou local de repouso?
Uma coisa é certa: Será sempre diferente do que é hoje.
No que diz respeito à moldura construída, receio que as vítimas mais numerosas sejam as de sempre, as velhas casas tradicionais, apesar da pequena percentagem que se vai recuperando...

glorv1 said...

Hopefully these older "folks" have instilled their upbringings in the younger generation. I'm very old fashioned in that I like doing things the way that I was taught and each time I do those things, such as hanging clothes instead of using the dryer, I am once again reminded of my childhood and all the memories of growing up. That's a beautiful painting as always. Thanks Paulo. Have a great week.

Paulo J. Mendes said...

Thank you, Gloria. Unfortunately it doesn't seem that the most of the younger generations care so much for the way of life and knowledge of the old people. With few exceptions, it is very likely that this will be a memory soon...

Villager said...

Gostei tanto da imagem como do texto. Beautiful.

Paulo J. Mendes said...

Obrigado, amigo Villager. Até breve :)

Rob Carey said...

Wonderful painting, Paulo, and thoughtful words. I enjoy living in the small villages of the Black Forest for this reason- the simplicity and friendliness of good country people who live very similar to their grandparents and value family and community.

Paulo J. Mendes said...

Rob, you are fortunate to have had such an experience. I wonder where these values and simplicity will be 20 years from today... Will them be forgotten or re-discovered?

Wish you all a nice and safe journey in your return to America :)