Street performances promote migrant inclusion in Alentejo

Street performances promote migrant inclusion in Alentejo

Three days given over to showcasing the “new (multicultural) Alentejo” 

Choreographer Madalena Victorino presents the show “Bowing Back” in Odemira tomorrow, billed as crossing the cultures of the “new Alentejo” and promoting the inclusion of migrants who work in this county through the arts.

It is a show of dance, music and word, with artistic direction by Madalena Victorino which will also ‘animate’ the streets of Odemira on Saturday and Sunday, from 7:00 pm.

“It is a show about the discomfort that so often exists in this situation of migrants who are here trying to find a better life in our country and that we, as local people, do not know very well how to deal with it,” Ms Victorino told Lusa today.

In this sense the show intends to “create comfort zones” where everyone can “feel good” and where the arrival of orientals to the country is seen “as an added value and something very positive”.

Conceived to covef the streets of the Alentejo town, from the Mira riverside garden, for almost three hours, “Bowing Back” counts with the participation of nearly 20 artists.

These will be joined by dozens of migrants from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and China, as well as some Europeans who also work in the municipality, mainly in agriculture.

“It is a collective that goes up to 70 people, of all ages, from 6 to 70, in a crossing of generations that I think is very interesting”.

The whole project is “a great adventure”, Madalena Victorino told Lusa.

Madalena Victorino

All performers will be seeking to transmit to the audience an “idea of crossing, of mixing, of coexistence and being well with the world we have today, ” she explained, adding that hopes are the show will make the audience feel “a little better acquainted” with the culture and religiosity of the Sikh community, “which has 4,000 to 5,000 people now living in the municipality of Odemira”.

Language is another of the aspects dealt with – as it is “one of the great problems that exist when it comes to integration”, she said.

“We made a point of being very attentive to the issue of comprehension and bringing everyone closer together through a strategy of being able to speak in several languages,” the choreographer told Lusa

“Bowing Back” marks the end of a project funded by the Odemira City Council under the Municipal Plan for the Integration of Migrants “Odemira Integra” and by the operational programmes Alentejo 2020 and Compete 2020.

The initiative is supported by the Directorate-General for Arts, the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, the High Commission for Migrations, the Calouste Gulbenkian and la Caixa Foundations and the Parish Council of São Teotónio (Odemira).

As part of the project, “Bowing” was presented in November 2021 in São Teotónio. Now it is the turn of “Bowing Back” in Odemira.

The event is part of the programming of the “Lavrar o Mira e a Lagoa – As Artes Além Tejo”, project, produced by the cultural cooperative Lavrar o Mar, based in nearby Aljezur.