No Touching Ground



Image of Saudade

26"x26" Archival pigment print on 290 gsm Moab Entrada Cotton Rag paper.
Edition of 150, signed and numbered on the front.


Saudade describes an emotion that non-native speakers of Portuguese often struggle to pinpoint. The Portuguese on the other hand have embroidered saudade onto the fabric of their culture; they have carved it; they have framed it; and finally they have adhered it onto the wall of their cultural identity. Nostalgia comes close, as does longing- yet each falls short of expressing the full breadth of emotion that 'saudade' encompasses.
It is an old term, possibly coined during the time of sea travel and exploration, where one’s lover sets sail in hopes of a brighter future.  Often times never to return home….
The Chafariz da Rua do Século is a fountain in the Barrio Alto neighborhood built in 1792.  It is one of many fountains in Lisboa built in the 17th and 18th centuries to provide drinking water to the people.  These fountains are now out of use, abandoned and crumbling into obscurity.
My artistic representation of the emotion of saudade is the image of a wooden female mannequin crying- looking towards the heavens for a sign.  The mannequin and the fountain both exist as relics from the Portuguese past. 
The Chafariz da Rua do Século is both metaphorically and physically the ideal location for the Saudade piece.  The fountain harkens back to a romantic era in Portuguese history where the towns people would gather around fountains to collect fresh water.  In the Saudade piece, the fountain serves as a metaphor, collecting tears and past memories.