Europa Nostra Awards for Arte-Xávega, Almada Project, Sé do Funchal and Cláudio Torres


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The restoration of the Mudéjar ceilings of the Cathedral of Funchal, the safeguard of the artisanal fishing technique “Arte-Xávega”, the Almada Project and the path of the archaeologist Cláudio Torres were distinguished today in the European Cultural Heritage Awards Europa Nostra.

These Portuguese projects are among 30 from 21 countries selected this year by the non-governmental organization Europa Nostra, announced the Centro Nacional de Cultura (CNC), the Portuguese representative in this entity that promotes the awards for European heritage.

The Mudejar style ceilings of the 1,500 square meter Funchal Cathedral were restored “based on the best practices of wood conservation, and involved an interdisciplinary team of top professionals of various nationalities”, according to the jury’s support for the choice of the winners, disclosed by the organization.

Aerial view of the Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal at sunset
Aerial view of the Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal at sunset

Also awarded was the project to safeguard the artisanal fishing technique “Arte-Xávega” on the Portuguese coast, framed within a program of knowledge and know-how transfer, in an investigation that makes known exemplary practices of safeguarding “one of the last examples of artisanal and sustainable fishing in the European Union”, emphasizes the jury of the awards.

The Almada Project – a multidisciplinary initiative that uses scientific research to present the mural art of modernist artist Almada Negreiros (1893-1970) from a new perspective – was also selected for its “exemplary reach to various communities,” the jury points out.

This project is centered on five nuclei of wall paintings existing in the maritime stations of Alcântara and Rocha do Conde d’Óbidos and in other Lisbon buildings (Nossa Senhora de Fátima Church, the old Diário de Notícias building and the Patrício Prazeres School).

Archaeologist Cláudio Torres was also distinguished for his work in the sector for over 40 years, “along with the research center he created in Mértola [Campo Arqueológico de Mértola, Alentejo], which plays a key role in the enhancement and conservation of Islamic heritage in Portugal,” says the jury of the awards.

The 30 winners were selected by a jury composed of heritage experts from all over Europe, after an evaluation made by selection committees responsible for analyzing the applications submitted by both organizations and individuals from 35 European countries.

Cecilia Bartoli, lyricist and president of Europa Nostra, quoted in the NCC press release, congratulates the winners of this year’s European Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Awards: “They are inspiring examples that truly contribute to building a more beautiful, sustainable and inclusive Europe.

“Their success stories demonstrate how adversity can be overcome through knowledge, dedication, creativity and innovation.

Among the 30 winners is Friluftsskolen, an open-air school in Copenhagen, Denmark, designed by architect Kaj Gottlob and built in 1938, an example of “how architecture can contribute to health and well-being,” and whose restoration “serves as a model for other schools in Europe.

The restoration of the Museum of Urban Architecture in Vilnius, Lithuania, was also chosen by the jury for its use of “high quality craftsmanship and authentic techniques”, as well as the work of the Acta Vista Association in Marseille, France, for developing heritage training projects involving 5,000 individuals who were on the margins of the job market.

Among other projects, the Museum of Literature of Ireland, in Dublin, was also chosen for its participative activities “to celebrate the country’s literary heritage, and inspire generations to engage with the art of writing and reading, deconstructing elitist perceptions of literature.

The winners will be honored at the European awards ceremony, to be held on September 28 at the Palazzo del Cinema in Venice, Italy.

During the event – which will be attended by Cecilia Bartoli and Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission – the winners of the Grand Prix and the Public Choice Award (in an ‘online’ vote), chosen from among this year’s winners, will be announced and will receive 10,000 euros each.

The ceremony will be one of the highlights of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2023, organized by Europa Nostra with the support of the European Commission, which will take place September 27-30 in Venice.

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