Artist Igor Silva and his amazing seafood creation
Artist Igor Silva and his amazing seafood creation Photos: BRUNO FILIPE PIRES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP

Giant prawn celebrates Olhão Seafood Festival

Local artist turns waste into art for return of popular event

An imposing sculpture of a giant prawn has been created by a local artist using recycled materials to celebrate the return of Olhão’s Seafood Festival.

After being suspended for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will take place again between August 10 and 14 at Jardim Pescador Olhanense and is promising to make a splash with its brand-new attraction.

Approximately 400 individual pieces of waste were used to create this new sculpture, including wood, aluminium composite sheets (dibond), marking buoys, and beach ashtrays.

Igor Nunes Silva, a self-taught artist who specialises in several artistic materials and techniques, says the project began with a phone call from Nisio Calvinho, the senior environment technician at the Olhão Council. “He asked me to create something different, capable of attracting attention and the gaze of visitors. I asked for a few minutes to think. I picked up a pencil and made a sketch. I remembered an old mug that was once used for this event and imagined creating something of significant size with a giant prawn on top of it. Being a sculptor, I thought executing it would be easy,” he told Barlavento newspaper.

Artist Igor Silva and his amazing seafood creation

In the storage warehouse of the local council’s events department, he found everything he needed. “They don’t like to throw things away. And that’s a good thing. Right from the start, they made me feel comfortable. They handed over the keys, everything, so I could work. It started out as a puzzle of rubbish that no one could understand. It only began to make sense on the seventh day,” he said, before providing some insight into how his mind works when planning such a sculpture.

“I start to envision the finished piece,” he said. “I created the base with two semi-circles to form the mug. Inside, I placed the necessary weight to balance it. Then, I crafted the prawn’s ribs one by one, ensuring a good balance between weight and size.”

The final touch was the painting, done with water-based spray paint that is environmentally-friendly.

Amazingly, creating the sculpture was a process that turned out to be far from costly.

“I think if we add everything up, it’s around €60,” he said. The labour also didn’t cost the municipality anything, as the artist has been part of the conservation and restoration department of the Olhão Museum for the past two months, where he even lends a helping hand to the educational service. That’s why he was also challenged this year to create three carnival floats for Moncarapacho’s Carnival: an airplane, a Venetian boat (gondola), a float with ice cream, and another with seahorses and a giant shell.

“This was the first time I did works like these, because my sculptural speciality lies in classical, human busts, made with precision. A few years ago, I made a bust of Jorge Sampaio, which remains in João Cravinho’s (Minister of Foreign Affairs) house,” the artist said.

He added that the sculpture will be placed near the main entrance of the event, “but in a way that doesn’t obstruct pedestrian access”.

Born in Olhão on March 16, 1977, Igor Nunes Silva’s artistic journey began with a thirst for adventure. From Denmark to Japan, he honed his craft, even exploring cybernetics and robotics. He contributed to diverse projects, from album covers to films. Despite the challenges of making a living through art, Igor remains committed to his passion and may soon travel to Angola where his work has been praised.

Delicious seafood and popular performers

Fresh seafood cooked “like only locals know how” will be the highlight of the Olhão Seafood Festival, where visitors will be able to try everything from lobster and shrimp to clams, oysters, and cockles.

There will also be salads, soups, burgers, and sandwiches to choose from.

Live music is also a highlight of the event, and headlining performers this year include Portuguese pop singer David Carreira (August 10), Tina Turner tribute singer Sónia Costa (August 11), Portugal’s most listened-to female artist in 2022, Bárbara Bandeira (August 12), rap group Wet Bed Gang (August 13), and Brazilian singer Vitor Kley (August 14).

Tickets can be purchased on the day or online, ranging from €5 (children aged seven to 12) to €10 (adults) for daily tickets and from €22.50 (children aged seven to 12) to €45 (adults) for a five-day pass. Admission is free for children aged six and younger.

Original article written by Bruno Filipe Pires for Barlavento newspaper.