Gama Rama Gallery

Discovering Faro’s blossoming creative hub in the heart of the old town.

Downtown Faro is a bustling place. I mean, the boats float serenely in the doca and the resident storks perch peacefully on rooftops and lamp posts – but the city’s inhabitants and wandering tourists do, undeniably, keep themselves busy. 

A seasoned stork with its bird’s eye view of the city would have grown used to seeing people going about their daily business. But it would have also, no doubt, noticed that, until a few years ago, the famous bar streets would only erupt with life at night – giving the odd lost tourists who wander down them little to discover in the daytime. 

But what’s that over there? Since 2020, signs for what can only be an exciting place have popped up on the street corners, piquing people’s curiosity and sending them down the previously less frequented cobbled streets of the Rua do Prior to the Gama Rama Gallery.

This month I was one of them and I can’t wait to tell you all about what I discovered …

Where old meets new

Coming in through green wooden door number 13 there was already a lot to take in. Beautiful old tiles lead the way up the staircase and I later found out they are from the 18th century and some of the very few of their kind left in Portugal.

You see, it turns out this building is the back of the Palácio Bivar, a private palace that is said to be one of the best examples of neoclassical civil architecture in the Algarve. The palace is not open to the public, however the Gama Rama is located in what would have been the staff quarters.

As I made my way inside, I noticed something definitely a lot more recent: a stunning colourful mural by artist Mariana Malhão. Based in both Porto and Coimbra, she visited Faro for a few weeks and added this glorious splash of colour representing her impressions of the Algarve.

Creative connection

At the top of the stairs, I met Toma and later Miguel, the creative married duo behind this artsy back-palace. Toma is the curator and Miguel takes care of logistics. 

Toma is from Lithuania and studied History of Art. She came to Faro nine years ago for a one year internship and liked it so much she never left. Almost immediately upon arrival she met Miguel, a sound design and digital artist. He had also just recently returned to his hometown after nine years in Barcelona and a year in Chile. Like Toma, he wasn’t planning on staying, but told me he found Faro a lot nicer than when he left and felt like there was room to add to the budding alternative art scene. 

The Algarve is, after all, known more for its beaches than as a creative hub – but Toma and Miguel want to change that.

Over the years, the pair have been involved in creating all kinds of events in Faro. They particularly enjoy making them happen at times and places out of the ordinary – like concerts on rooftops in the daytime (before it was cool) and pop up galleries and exhibitions.

The Gama Rama just grew organically from this, starting life as the Pop Up Gallery Faro.

Let’s explore!

There’s lots happening here at the Gama Rama Gallery; it’s hard to know where to start. The couple explained that if people come for one thing, they will stumble naturally across the others. Indeed, it’s almost impossible not to!

Let’s say you come for a workshop. Toma and Miguel are constantly encouraging artists to pass on their skills and, although nervous at first, they usually end up really enjoying it. The result: every two weeks Gama Rama hosts a different workshop that can range from ceramics to jewellery-making, nature-based stamps, embroidery and so much more. Their newest event is the Drink & Draw that takes place in the bar down the street.

Once you are at the workshop, you simply won’t be able to resist checking out the latest exhibition, as most of the creative endeavours take place on a table right in the middle of the gallery. Every three months, a new artist takes their turn decorating the walls and hallways of this beautiful old building. 

If you wander up these inspired hallways, you may also be able to peek into the rooms where you might spot one of their resident artists at work. 

Whilst touring with Toma, we crossed over an archway that takes you over the bar street and into a beautiful light-filled room. This is where the staff of the palace used to come and pray, explained Toma. Here we met Sara from Uraeus Estúdio – a lovely and joyful tattoo artist specialising in fine line and pointillism. 

The other rooms host artist Tom Leamon, jeweller Ana Gregório, as well as painter and illustrator Joana Rosa Bragança. Maybe you will be lucky enough to catch them on your visit!

Our final stop was the shop. A radiant room brimming with beautiful bright art from all kinds of local and national artists – all art is for sale, making the Gama Rama Gallery a great place to find inspiration and decoration for your and your loved one’s homes.

Faro is already famous for its sun, sand and storks, but Toma and Miguel are passionate about putting it on the map for something more. Do go and have a look for yourself (R. do Prior, 13, 8600-301 Faro).

If you would like to sign up for their newsletter to keep updated on upcoming workshops or exhibitions, then please email them at or follow them on Instagram @gamarama_gallery and Facebook gamaramagallery


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