Hands That Do All

by marksearch team


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The intricate network of scars and deep creases that sculpt a hand distinctively expresses what a person does. Mãos dos Sete Ofícios, or Hands That Do All is our latest creative exploration, a play on the Portuguese expression, O homem dos sete ofícios (jack of all trades). Over two months this Fall 2012, during the abundant harvest season, we will meet with and create hand portraits of the makers of Tondela, Portugal.  This compilation of cast plaster hands will be permanently displayed in the Tondela Regional Hall, paying poetic homage to people who know how to do so much with their hands.

For the past decade, our Oakland, California-based explorations have amplified under-recognized local heroes. We are eager to research an area whose hereditary knowledge of place-making surpasses what is possible in our own sometimes fragmented urban setting.   We want to understand how long-practiced cultural knowledge can coalesce a community.

We are thrilled to be invited to ARTErra, a small, Portuguese family farm that has been converted into a working space for artists.  Micaela Ferreira, ARTErra's director, recognizes the capacity of our project to re-awaken a local appreciation for everyday talents that can be sometimes taken for granted:

 Mãos Dos Sete Ofícios draws attention to our local craft practices and will bring the people of Tondela closer to their history, their roots.  The permanent Museum of Hands will preserve the legacy of our cultural identity.

Comprised of 26 small villages, Tondela is home to rich agricultural and craft traditions.  People participate in a now rare but very human alchemy.  As fixers, doers and crafters, they use cunning ingenuity and indigenous muscle memory to transform raw materials into useful items whose beauty resides in their necessary daily-life functions.  With the diaspora of the Portuguese youth and an aging village population, how will generations' old cultural traditions survive?

Our project is well underway. ARTErra and the Regional Hall are providing significant in-kind contributions by coordinating meetings with makers, assisting with translation, and installing the hand portraits. This summer they will distribute invitation cards to Tondela encouraging people to participate in this exceptional exploration of the ordinary.  

Help us realize our dream by donating to Mãos Dos Sete Ofícios.  We are not creating an artwork for someone to own.  We are cultivating a value that exists in a specific time and place.  Your contribution, which will support our travel, materials and residency costs, ensures our ability to collaboratively preserve a community's heritage.  Funding that we receive over our goal will allow us to develop an integrated documentary website.

Match Funds are not currently available.

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