VHILS IN CAPE VERDE

Achada Grande Frente community

Photo: José Pando Lucas

Last October Vhils spent ten days on a working trip to Cape Verde, a country that shares close historical and cultural ties with Portugal, where he left two impressive wall pieces and an imprint on the lives of local communities.

Achada Grande Frente community

Photo: José Pando Lucas

The project kicked off following an invitation by the Xalabas di Komunidade project, which has been making an effort to change preconceptions of the once marginalised neighbourhood of Achada Grande Frente, in the country’s capital city of Praia, Santiago island.

After meeting up with the local community to help choose the subject matter for his first wall piece in Cape Verde, Vhils decided to portray Amílcar Cabral (1924–1973), and went on to delve further into the life and works of the thinker, poet and revolutionary he had long admired at the foundation that bears his name. Researching through the documentation and photographic archives got him to the final image that now graces the wall of the local school. On the evening the work was finished, the local community gathered around the piece, cheering, singing and dancing in a moving, spontaneous inaugural ceremony. Vhils also worked with local youths in a workshop, sharing with them some of the skills and techniques employed in his artworks.

Amílcar Cabral Foundation

Photo: José Pando Lucas

Amílcar Cabral Foundation

Photo: José Pando Lucas

Worskshop with local children. Praia, Cape Verde

Photo: José Pando Lucas

Impromptu inaugural gathering. Achada Grande Frente community

Photo: José Pando Lucas

Full view of the wall and location here.

The second leg of the journey was spent on the island of São Vicente, working in partnership with the cultural association Kriol Ideias. In the city of Mindelo, Vhils led a second workshop with local children and was invited by the municipality to work on another wall in the town’s historical district.

Workshop at the local school. Mindelo, Cape Verde

Photo: José Pando Lucas

Given her importance for the country, Vhils carved the portrait of the renowned Mindelo-born singer Cesária Évora (1941–2011) who captured the soul of her people, brought it to the world’s attention and whose legacy lives on through her music. The portrait drew a lot of attention and had an immediate impact on the local community.

Work in progress. Mindelo, Cape Verde

Photo: José Pando Lucas

Mindelo, Cape Verde

Photo: José Pando Lucas

Full view of the wall and location here.