Azulejos are a traditional form of Portuguese ceramic tile work. They are a common aspect of the Portuguese culture that dates back to the 18th century. These mosaics, both small and grand in scale, typically depict religious scenes or folk legends. These tile murals can still be seen today mounted right on the facades of homes in the Portuguese community.
In this body of work I use this traditional method of story telling to provide glimpses into the life of the labourer. As a Portuguese male, my patrilineal history is deeply routed in a long line of hard working men who built cities, railways and cultivated farmlands. I assume the roles of those who laboured not only for survival, but for the love of tending to a garden and the sense of pride that ensues. This work is a means for me to piece together the tales passed down by my ancestors, and in re-enacting these moments I too am part of the history.
Though traditionally painted by hand, the pieces I have created are comprised of contemporary photographs printed directly onto the tile surfaces. Followed by a process of mounting them and applying grout, my artistic process acknowledges the very history of artisans and labourers. Using the skills acquired by my father, my intentions are to depict the experiences and sacrifices, which in many ways, have brought me to where I am today.