To say that Portugal is a country of creative art is to put it mildly. Everywhere you go, masterpieces of creativity meet the eye. 

WORDS Julian Putley

From the architecture of historic buildings, ceramic tile displays and wall frescos to murals, paintings, sculptures and more. So, it was a delightful experience to visit the Laboratório de Actividades Criativas (LAC), Laboratory of Creative Activities in Lagos, the birthplace of so much artistic ingenuity. 

The centre is located in an old, disused jail in central Lagos and is very suited to its new purpose. Many of the old cells are now studios for the various art forms. The main communal area provides for interactions between artists and their creations.

Director of the centre, Nuno Pereira, explained how it works, “We are a cultural association and we have developed three main pillars. First, the ‘Creation,’ our focus for local long-term and international short-term residences. They share ideas, techniques, methods and create artistic works for exhibiting to the public during specified dates. This brings us to the second objective and that is the ‘Programme’ to organise events like concerts, shows, conferences and exhibitions. The third and very important function is, ‘Education’ to share the importance of art by way of workshops – to schools and colleges. We invite groups of students to visit us here to use this space – we have close to 200 classes! And sometimes we send artists to various institutions to share their knowledge with students.” 

Since 2011, under the heading of ‘Creation,’ we have invited artists from around the world to take part in special themed projects. This September/October the theme of the enterprise is urban art, ARTURb. It is a unique project in the Algarve involving some of the biggest names in the street art scene. 

This project includes a 15-day artistic residence at LAC, followed by a collective exhibition (24th September to 31st October). The old jail makes an ideal location. The resident artists are free to develop their work inside or outside the LAC space, which is available for any inspiration or artistic creation. The purpose of this residence is to create synergies between the artists in order to encourage and add value to the cultural tourism of Lagos. 

The internationally recognised artists displaying works at this event are André Nada, Cardoz, Gat.Uno, Patricia Mariano and Pedro Podre. Be prepared for surreal works with your imagination finely tuned.

The exhibition is open from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm. Dates as above: 24th September to 31st October. (The artists will only be in attendance on the 24th of September). Admission is free. 

www.facebook.com/lac.lagos

Main image: Pedro Podre