With a main focus on the conservation and promotion of the cultural legacy of the beloved and multifaceted artist Vasco Branco (1919-2014), Navalha is the NGO responsible for the development of the VIC // Aveiro Arts House project. Our organisation is also deeply engaged in initiatives such as participatory arts projects, cultural programming, audiovisual publishing and international cooperation programs.
Although Navalha was founded in 2019, our crew of artists, thinkers and technicians have developed a sustained cultural action in the territory for a few years now, collaborating in content production and programming for several of Aveiro’s most relevant artistic initiatives, such as the International Biennial of Artistic Ceramics, the urban festival Festival dos Canais, Criatech and Prisma new media festivals or the book celebration event Festa do Livro.
Decentralisation of Culture
Assuming that art —in all its unlikely forms— can and should play a fundamental role in society and in everyday life, we strongly believe in the accessibility and decentralisation of culture.
Besides curating cultural programming away from the lobbies of Portugal’s main urban centres, Navalha is deeply interested in the development of participatory arts initiatives in rural and peripheral areas. Such was the case with Re_Emergir, a community-driven project we’ve produced in collaboration with the Spanish association Ecoopera at the former mining village of Borralha, Montalegre.
At a time when networks seem to be one of the main convergence points of the dominant speech, we choose to dig cultural tunnels instead, substituting the ubiquitous shallowness of networking for the generation and preservation of deeper relations amongst projects, spaces, individuals and institutions.
With a strong focus on the promotion of mobility in the arts, Navalha’s activities have granted us the participation in national and international cooperation programs, such as the Creatour creative tourism research project, the European mobility program Tandem Europe, the Challenges for Cultural Heritage Management in Tourism international conference or the European platform Culture Action Europe, dedicated to the analysis, reflection and development of sustainable cultural policies for Europe.
The Future of Tradition
We also believe in the employment of state-of-the-art tools and experimental approaches towards the preservation and promotion of our traditions. Together with the artist’s family, Navalha is fundamentally engaged in the the promotion of Vasco Branco’s artistic legacy.
During the past few years we’ve developed and collaborated in multiple actions within this field, such as the re-habilitation and digitalisation of Vasco Branco’s movies, the publishing of a bilingual book about the artist’s deep connection to the city of Aveiro or, most recently, the celebrations of his centenary: a transdisciplinary event that included exhibitions, installations, round tables, guided tours, outdoors screenings and shared readings.
Arts for Freedom and Participation
Declaring the democratisation of art as one of our main goals, we believe in the development of a civil society where every citizen plays a shared and active role towards a sociopolitical context based on participation, and on freedom of artistic expression and speech, which we consider to be fundamental human rights.
We are pretty excited about a few projects currently in development! Coming very soon is VIC NIC, our freshly baked circulation device for sound, visuals and publications that will launch in March 2021.
We are also giving shape to other ideas, such a series of reproductions of Vasco Branco’s ceramic works by local ceramists or an arts map that integrates most of the active cultural venues, arts projects and other creative business in Aveiro. Subscribe to our newsletter bellow to stay tuned!