Building a bridge between Past and Present via vitalizing street arts

The street art project Pa-redes financed by PARTIS (“Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian”) aims to transform the nostalgia for the old slum neighborhood into street art, in order to build a bridge between past and present and promote the future perspectives of the neighborhood. PA-REDES has been launched in the beginning of 2016, in cooperation with Viver melhor no Beato”1 the parish council of Beato and AAAFBAUL (Associação dos antigos alunos de belas artes da Universidade de Lisboa) The project receives a funding that is calculated for 18 month and intends to be financially independent afterwards.

Apart from transformative power of urban arts of public space it will be used as a tool for development of social and personal competencies and aims to relieve the neighborhood from its burden of stigmatization by the police and the media. Through the establishment of a creative community and the promotion of memories the residents shall be encouraged to transform the neighborhoods into a place that is able to attract tourists and visitors and will thus create a new opportunity for employment in i.e. gastronomy and street art tourism.

The skills acquisition will further more enhance the chances of individuals to be financially independent and thus offer another indirect source for employment.

Action steps by Pa-redes:

  1. Promote empowerment and participation of community, through urban arts movement
  2. Offer artistic trainings and social, communitarian and professional capacities
  3. Salvage of memories of the neighborhoods
  4. Collect creative material from the intervention group that defines how to design urban intervention
  5. Create an artistic guide/ script and a map for the parish councils and “Turismo de Lisboa”
  6. Organize guided visits through the open air museum

    Pa-redes is a project that has surged completely independent from USER but Maria Penide Mera from Clube explains that a lot of the work overlaps. At the one hand the weekly art classes and a monthly exhibitions bring several parents together and enhance the community spirit. At the other hand the salvage of memories by Clube Intercultural Europeu serves the USER program for future exhibitions.


Quinta da Curraleira

“Quinta da Curraleira” is the actual territory after which the whole “favela” of Curraleira was named.  It still preserves the rurality of the former “favela”. Together with “Bairro Horizonte” it maintains the atmosphere of an urban farm. Behind the corrugated metal sheets “Quinta do Nelson” even holds a herd of sheeps. Continue reading “Quinta da Curraleira”


In the radio Session about antiga Curraleira by Clube you can listen to the memories that still shape the identity of the people living in the social housing neighborhoods of today.

Culturas, violência, relações de poder, sociedade, justiça, ignorância, policia, medo, cultura, conviver, origem, familia, aprender, memória

The keywords show the ambivalent relation with the past. Apart from a nostalgic look back on the past, it shouldn’t be forgotten that antiga quinta da Curraleira was also a place marked by police raids and drug abuse.

RTP Video antiga Curraleira

The origins of antiga curraleira date back to a late era of industrialization when many people left the countrysides to live in the city. “[…] 39/40/50, quando começam os grandes exodos rurais, ou seja movimentos de imigração do mundo rural para a cidade.” (João Queiroz, Fundação Agha Khan) Although the original community mainly stems rural regions such as “Trás dos Montes”, in the local school other nationalities such as Asian, Eastern European or African are represented but according to João Queiroz not significant. “Há uma população muito variada, africana, da Asia, da Europa de leste na escola. Enfim na escola existem 31 nacionalidades, mas nos bairros quem lá vive…os imigrantes é residual, não é significativo.”(João Queiroz, Fundação Agha Khan)

“era uma espécie de pequena aldeia” (João Queiroz, Fundação Agha Khan)

The horizontal informal construction of the “barracas” promoted strong social ties and conviviality among the former community. Nowadays the vertical construction of the social housing blocks and the absence of welcoming public places, such as parks, playgrounds or art, doesn’t invite people to get together. USER is a European program that aims to solve the neglection of public place through community events. Pa-redes is an initiative by Clube to implement street art within the neighborhood.