May 2022, Lisbon
An artist exchange between Luxembourg and Portugal has been organised by the Kulturfabrik in collaboration with the Luxembourgish Embassy in Lisbon. Portuguese artist Mariana Duarte Santos painted a wall in Luxembourg (Esch-sur-Alzette, European Capital of Culture 2022) and in return Alain painted this piece in Lisbon.
In order to create a connection between Portugal and Luxembourg, he didn’t work with classic or obvious symbols, but rather focussed on a personal connection. Since humanized animals usually appear as protagonists in his murals, he chose a crow as the central motif. There are not only two crows on the emblem of Lisbon, but also on the emblem of his home village Koler. So, the crow has a very personal value for him and also creates a direct connection between the two locations. Interestingly, in 2018, during his Make Koler Kooler project, where he turned his village into an urban art museum, he dedicated a wall to their emblem, depicting three crows. This wall was recently demolished and consequently a beautiful and sensible idea arises that this wall will be “built up” in Portugal.
By focusing on just one crow, symbolizing Lisbon and Koler, he chose the color blue for his main character, which is inspired by the traditional painted tin-glazed ceramic tiles Azulejos constituting a major aspect of Portuguese architecture to this day and thus putting the motive into its surrounding environment. Additionally, the crow is holding a pasteis de nata, a typical Portuguese egg pastry in one hand, and a rope that runs through the whole picture with the other hand. Either way, this rope can indicate the maritime aspect of the city or one can also suggest the tram ropes that run through Lisbon.
Above all, however, the rope is intended on a metaphorical level as a cultural interaction that we all pull together.