Urban art brings colour to Portimão riverside

Local artist João Sena reveals his latest work inspired by the soul of the city.

For a few weeks now, the riverside area of Portimão has been enriched with yet another excellent example of urban art, this time by local painter João Sena, who accepted the Municipality’s challenge to give new life to the facilities of the former JAPBA – Junta Autónoma dos Portos do Barlavento do Algarve, located next to Cais Gil Eanes.

The artist says that “the project resulted from an invitation made by the Municipality to paint something inspired by the city, almost like a gateway for the thousands of young people who were among us during the Welcome to Paradise Festival, in preparation for World Youth Day. The letters of the word ‘Portimão’ had to predominate, as well as other motifs that mirror the soul of the area.”


“To do this, I took inspiration from paper boats and seagulls, symbols of freedom and transformation, rudders representing the choices and actions on each person’s journey, and the old man of the sea, a living testimony of time and experience. And sardines, which from my point of view exemplify the diversity and collaboration that defines Portimão, where everyone plays an important role in the balance of the city’s growth, making it a unique and special place”, explains João Sena.

“The most difficult part of the whole process was painting with acrylic paints, enduring the heat felt during the weeks in which I tried to give new life to the iconic building of the former JAPBA, whose configuration is full of details”, he says.

The painter recalls having been “sought out by hundreds of tourists of countless nationalities, curious to know what was going on and to whom I explained the symbolism of each figure. I also had the satisfaction of taking countless photographs with the young pilgrims wandering along the riverside area every day and who insisted on including the flags of their countries in the frames.”


João Sena 4

About the artist

The grandson of a fisherman, João Sena was born in Portimão in 1972 and is currently marking 25 years of careerwith the retrospective exhibition “XXV” at the EMARP – Empresa Municipal de Águas e Residos de Portimãofacilities until September 8.

From an early age, he was greatly interested in various artistic manifestations, especially painting, having studied and investigated various techniques and styles using materials such as oil, acrylic, pastel and charcoal.

In 1997, through the exhibition “Conclusão…nenhuma”, he revealed his works to the public for the first time, in which he assumed “a great fascination with Salvador Dalí’s surrealism and an obsession with perfecting his style of paintings, eventually discovering the vast fantasy and intensity present in art.”

The artist says, “In my pieces, I try to make a self-observation of life and everything it involves, painting dreams, mysteries and stories”, which are part of several private collections spread across the country and abroad.

According to João Sena, his artistic creations “give those who observe them the possibility of entering another world, and of integrating themselves into the settings of a story… Perhaps a new way of seeing a different world, converting dreams into reality.”

You can find out more about João Sena’s work on Instagram: @art_by_joao_sena