The Portuguese Volunteer Firefighters celebrated on Saturday the corporation’s 95th anniversary with the inauguration of five murals painted by urban artists, through a project that aimed to transform the barracks into a more welcoming and dynamic space.
“We wanted to boost the barracks to support a corporation that spends 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, here,” explained Tiago Almendra, second vice-president of that fire brigade in the city of Porto and an intermediary between the corporation and the artists.
The doors through which the rescue vehicles of the Portuguese Volunteer Firefighters are now painted with colorful drawings and referring to the firemen’s performance. “We transformed the second house of our firefighters, using urban art, which is now a welcoming and dynamic space,” said the vice president.
The Caver, FEDOR, mynameisnotSEM, Mariana PTKS, Virus, and Los Pepes are the six volunteer artists who renewed five murals of the Portuenses barracks.
“The project started last year and was implemented with the help of many partners. Given the social nature of the project, the BASA (Book a Street Artist) company has invigorated all the means and helped us to get sponsorship conditions,” explained the person in charge.
The second vice-president of the Portuense Volunteers emphasized the effort of the artists “who gave their work for free” and that, “in three afternoons, they made the ‘Urban Firefighters’ project happen.”
“As the material was all made available by the sponsors, even the range of colors available to artists was limited,” said Almond.
The project, which used 83 spray cans and 135 liters of paints, was designed by the management team of the Portuguese Volunteers to be “a surprise for the corporation”, “but at a certain point it was not possible to save that moment because they started to appear artists and materials in the barracks and the firefighters realized that was a surprise, “explained the vice president.
“When the workers realized [the paintings] were very enthusiastic, they welcomed this initiative,” he said.
Virus, an artist from Porto, explained that in his mural he intended to transform the image of “flame, which is something always associated with more experiences”.
Deciding to “give a twist” to this concept, “his painting in shades of blue and purple now represents” the Portuguese soul as the great flame that exists. ”
“I represented the soul of Portugal with patterns that symbolize our culture, as much as the textile [textile] standards, as the scales that represent our fishing culture, to the grape berries that symbolize our wine,” explained author of that urban painting in which he inscribed “Alma é Flame”.
Sandra Marinho, a 23-year-old volunteer firefighter at the corporation, admits by looking at a mural with geometric cuts that she thought the final result “was more allusive to the theme of firefighters,” but also realized that ” related to the type of work of each artist “.
“It was a different initiative that gave more color to our barracks and gave much more movement, and therefore bring new people,” she concluded.
With 95 years of history, the corporation began its activity in Rua do Bolhão, passing in 1933 to a building in Rua Fernandes Tomás.
The current facilities in the industrial zone of Porto, in the parish of Ramalde, were inaugurated in 1993, after the Porto Chamber had ceded to the corporation, ten years before, the land to build its barracks there.