“After the (delightful) dolphin”: Algarve artist BJ Boulter returns with another message to “Listen to the Ocean”

After the Dolphin that delighted so many in those rose-tinted days pre-Covid (click here), Algarve artist BJ Boulter is back with a new addition to her series: “Listen to the Ocean”.

While the wonderful dolphin (now bearing up under the elements on a roundabout in Lagoa) drew attention to the disaster caused by discarded plastic, this new exhibition opening at Portimão Museum on Saturday aims to reinforce the message that we desperately need to protect the beauty and purity of our seas. 

It’s not simply a matter of stopping throwing out plastics; it’s a question of curbing the discharge of polluting waste products and clamping down on the horror of poaching.

“It is urgent! Listen to the ocean!” BJ writes in the forward to this latest tour-de-force.

Portimão and the wider Algarve are both at the mercy of ‘progress’ in which pollution threatens the extinction of species and degradation of natural habitats.

“This series started with the anchors in Praia do Barril depicting the dominance of the sea on the lives of the Portuguese fishermen and their families. The call of the sea is strong. The women living in coastal towns suffered the absence of their menfolk with forbearance. Saudade. Amalia Rodrigues evoked it all when as a young girl I saw her in a cafe in Lisbon. Pathos. Loneliness. Pride. Loss. Bereavement. Life’s stories… 

“As an image grows in my mind’s eye; form, colour, shape, materials and even size dominate my thoughts. I begin to imagine. Deliberate. Sketch. A frenzy to start the creative process takes hold of me. That’s when I start to prepare the canvas, collect the snippets or print for a collage, or even forage, gathering plastic waste for a sculpture. The artwork can lay fallow for ages, but the means are there and the idea is alive – just dormant”, she explains.

Well, dormant it is no longer: BJ’s latest efforts will be on show from Saturday afternoon at 5pm until November 14.

The show will take up the whole space of the Temporary Exhibition Gallery integrated within the museum’s “MAR” (SEA) project, with a second exhibition cleverly-entitled “Arte com Lata” show focusing on new designs of tinned fish occupying the museum’s entrance hallway.

The expression ‘com lata’ can also mean ‘with chutzpah’ (meaning extreme self-confidence). It’s a characteristic many artists will identify with. Indeed, without it, there would be a lot less for the rest of us to see.

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