The Portuguese Way, a collaborative piece by Chagal Campestre, Flor Campestre, Janjii Rugani, Wan Laryukov, Winter Wardhani, is a little different from “the usual” (however you might define that!) exhibitions at the Linden Endowment for the Arts.
Explaining their piece, which opened on September 13th, the team said, “When we decided to present a project to apply for a LEA sim, we thought about doing something different from what we usually see in the LEA sims.
“So we opted to do a realistic sim, depicting RL Portuguese landmarks and at the same time, show our history and culture, hopefully breaking the stereotype that Portugal is all about sun and sea. We called it ‘The Portuguese Way.”
Portugal is somewhere I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting. I rather suspect that, like a lot of other people, my view of it amounts to thoughts of Portugal in a modern context – as the team state, a destination for holday goers and of being “the country between Spain and the Atlantic”. It’s very easy to forget that it was once the centre of the longest-lived colonial empire in Europe, lasting some 600 years from the capture of Ceuta, northern Africa in 1415, through until the handover of Macau to China in 1999 (de facto) or the granting of sovereignty to East Timor in 2002 (de jure), depending on one’s point-of-view.
During that time, the empire held territories across what are now 53 different sovereign states, with some 240 million Portuguese speakers (making it the 6th most-spoken language in the world).
The exhibit itself presents a number of famous Portuguese landmarks and historical sites, as well as various rural scenes, in a landscaped environment one can explore in a number of ways – on foot (recommended), via balloon or via teleport links, for example.
There are information givers scattered throughout the region, each disguised to blend-in with its surroundings which provide a broad range of information on the country: history, political, economy, legends – such as that of Sebastian – culture, art and more. On one side of the region sits a maze, inspired by Ensaio sobre a Cegueira ( Eng: Blindness), a novel by Portuguese writer and recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature, José Saramago.
All told, the region packs a lot into it, so it is worthwhile taking the time to explore. The note cards are both informative and clearly written and help present one with insight into Portugal and its rich and diverse history and its position in the modern world. As well as the exhibit itself, the team responsible for The Portuguese Way are planning a series of cultural and musical events by Portuguese artists and performers working in Second Life.