Conceição’s Stories

Conceição’s Stories is an early work that taps into the artist’s childhood memories. The title establishes the presence of a storyteller and refers to Conceição; a seamstress that worked for the artist’s grandparents. Conceição told the most beautiful stories while working. The elements that constructed her stories were always the same, but each time the stories were told, the details and the contexts were slightly altered, as was the order in which events took place. At the same time the work alludes to the artist’s father’s vicious stories about his part in the Portuguese Colonial War that was fought between Portugal’s military and the emerging independence movements in Portugal’s African colonies between 1961 and 1974. He only spoke about the war during violent outbursts and his stories too were always told slightly different.

The work is an installation that consists of a performance without an audience, 80 slides that document this performance, a projector, a wooden army crate and two sown together white linen sheets. During the performance the artist sewed together the sheets and subsequently sat on the crate and attached the sheets to cover the crate. A camera was set to take a picture every 10 seconds. In the installation, these pictures are projected onto the crate. This work is a reflection on how the consciousness of a generation revolves around its relationship with the war. Stories about jungles, boats, rivers and enemy attacks became part of the collective imagery of a generation. The white sheets symbolise the way the Portuguese dealt with the war after it finished: it was mostly ignored, not spoken about, covered up. The artist’s father brought the wooden crate as a souvenir from the war in Africa. Ironically, once used to store missiles, it later became the box where a child stored away their toys.

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Wooden crate, sheets and slides projection
 150 x 150 x 30 cm
 Selection from 80 slides
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