Fading faces of the Algarve

Fifty years ago families in the Algarve were almost entirely sustained by the land and sea. Today the few remaining famers and fishermen are featured in paintings created by Rodrigo Silvestre. A young and talented artist his work is supported by Galeria Côrte-Real in Paderne and his images preserve a generation that has almost disappeared.

Until 1966, when a small airport was opened in Faro, the Algarve was a remote corner of Europe that had hardly been exposed to tourism. Once the region became easily accessible, development was rapid, visitors arriving in increasing numbers to experience the coastal strip and its ideal climate.

For locals there were massive changes as fishing villages grew into holiday resorts. Young people living in small inland towns and hamlets were attracted to seasonal employment that existed on the coast. Looking for an overall improvement in their living standards many did not return back home, moving instead to the cities and to Northern Europe.

As a result numerous rural communities are either dead or dying, populated by a generation of elderly people. Weathered by a lifetime of manual labour, their faces filled with character, Rodrigo’s paintings are nostalgic reflecting the respect he feels for these almost forgotten people and their everyday lives. Several of his beautifully observed studies are displayed at Galeria Côrte-Real.

Côrte-Real has a pop-up gallery in the centre of Carvoeiro above the estate agent Fine and Country. The main gallery ‘Galeria Côrte-Real’ is signposted from Boliqueime, Ferreiras and Paderne. It is open Thursday to Sunday, 11am until 5pm.
912 737 762 | www.corterealarte.com


Photo: Painting by Rodrigo Silvestre at Côrte-Real