New sculpture pays tribute to Albufeira’s fish canning workers
Photo: Rui Gregório/Câmara Municipal de Albufeira

New sculpture pays tribute to Albufeira’s fish canning workers

It is named ‘Atum’ (Tuna), was created by Algarve artist João Jesus and is located in front of Albufeira’s INATEL building, which at the start of the 20th century was a fish canning factory.

A sculpture made using “obsolete materials” which were stored at a local council warehouse was officially inaugurated by Albufeira Mayor, José Carlos Rolo, on Monday to pay tribute to the men and women who worked at the five fish canning factories that once existed in the town.

The sculpture’s location was chosen due to the fact that several canning factories operated in that area – not only for sardines but also other types of fish, such as tuna.

The sculpture took two months to create, the artist explained, adding that he was able to turn “rubbish into art through recycling.” João Jesus also thanked all the workers and entities who helped with the construction of the sculpture.

Meanwhile, the local mayor highlighted the sculpture’s representation of the “importance of the fish canning industry” in the history of Albufeira.

“It is a work (of art) that speaks of the history and the people of Albufeira, its culture and its old customs,” said Rolo.

He added: “Apart from acting as a tribute to Albufeira’s sardine and tuna canning industry, the sculpture also represents our effort to boost circular economy in the borough, in the sense that it was produced entirely from recycled materials.”

The inauguration ceremony was attended by fellow artists and representatives from the Association of Professional Fishermen of Albufeira (APPA, GNR police and the local captaincy.

The local council has also provided further information on the town’s fish canning history in a statement to the press.

“In Albufeira, there were five canning factories in the first half of the 20th century. These included Ramirez & Companhia Lda. (established in 1909 and relocated to Matosinhos between 1926 and 1928); Fabrico, owned by Sociedade de Conservas de Albufeira, Lda. (1918); Baltum, Lda. (known as Fábrica da Caveira, which began operating in 1919 under the management of Joaquim de Sousa Guerreiro, but in May 1920, became part of Consórcio Português de Pescas e Conservas – SARL.); Sociedade Brito, Lda. – Fábrica de Conservas de Peixe em Azeite, and Ernesto Salles, Lda., which also had a Guano Factory (both from 1913-1933) and was later owned by Johannes Seibt, who partnered with Sociedade Brito, creating Johannes Seibt e Brito Lda., better known as “a fábrica do Alemão” (the German’s factory).

Explains the council, these factories produced canned sardines, mackerel fillets, and bogue fish in olive oil.

By Michael Bruxo

[email protected]