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José Rodrigues wanted to make art accessible to everyone. To celebrate this desire and, at the same time, 85 years since the birth of the plastic artist, the University of Porto offers the city an exhibition “to feel, listen and see”, focusing on the period in which it participated in the colonial war. “José Rodrigues, o Guardador do Sol” can be visited free of charge at the Common House of the U.Porto Rectory, until December 30th.
At the age of 25, José Rodrigues was called to fight in Angola “with those with whom he had lived until adolescence, the people with whom he learned the language of affection”, recalls the U.Porto. “Imagine the trauma of having to fight the people he played with as a child”, he will have confided to his daughter.
In “José Rodrigues, o Guardador do Sol” it is possible to know excerpts from the correspondence exchanged during that period. “He still had the unbearable war on his face”, recalled his friend Eugénio de Andrade.
The exhibition will take its title from the sculpture presented by José Rodrigues in the final exam at the Escola Superior de Belas Artes in Porto, where he graduated after arriving in Portugal from his native Luanda.
The U.Porto states that this work “gained him a mark of 20 points and a place among the Quatro Vintes, alongside Jorge Pinheiro, Armando Alves and Ângelo de Sousa, all of whom graduated with the highest classification in the Fine Arts of Porto, where they would come to exercise teaching activity”.
João Belchior, director of the Social Action Department at Santa Casa da Misericórdia, which is a partner in the project, explains that the exhibition aims to provide “different solutions for different sensory and inclusion problems”. In addition to the audio description of some pieces, the blind will be able to “touch sculptures and two-dimensional reproductions that allow us to identify the relief of the outlines of the paintings”, says the U.Porto.
In addition to the nucleus dedicated to the impact of the colonial war on the artist’s work in drawing, sculpture, engraving, illustration, scenography and medals, the approximately 70 pieces that make up “José Rodrigues, o Guardador do Sol” travel across Europe and the Orient.
The university also remembers that the art script by José Rodrigues in public spaces in the city, such as the Cubo da Ribeira or the tribute to Duque da Ribeira, is available at the Digital Museum of the U.Porto.
In the renovated building of the Post Office, you can see the bronze bust of “the beautiful and seductive Salomé fascinates the King, his uncle Herodes Antipas, with a dance”.
A U.Porto refere que este trabalho “lhe valeu uma nota de 20 valores e um lugar entre os Quatro Vintes, ao lado de Jorge Pinheiro, Armando Alves e Ângelo de Sousa, todos eles formados com a classificação máxima nas Belas Artes do Porto, onde viriam a exercer atividade docente”.