”Pedagogy of the Streets: Porto 1977” by Elvira Leite
The Arte Institute suggests ”Pedagogy of the Streets: Porto 1977”, an exhibition by Elvira Leite at Mishkin Gallery in New York, open from March 14 to May 9, 2019.
”Pedagogy of the Streets: Porto 1977”
135 E. 22nd St. at Lexington
New York, NY
March 14 – May 9, 2019
March 13, 5 – 7 PM
”Pedagogy of the Streets: Porto 1977” showcases photographs by artist Elvira Leite that reflect various phases of her 1977 collaboration with the children of Porto’s Pena Ventosa community. During a time of energized social upheaval following Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, public space was ripe for reimaging – access to spaces that were previously restricted were now available. Elvira Leite and the Pena Ventosa community took charge of this moment by initiating spontaneous art programs throughout city streets. These programs enabled the youngest community members to question their neighbourhood, to activate undervalued spaces, and to take part in defining their city.
This exhibition also includes archival materials from Portugal’s Serviço de Apoio Ambulatório Local (SAAL, or Service for Local Mobile Support). In the early 1970s, Portugal faced a dramatic housing shortage that partially triggered the 1974 revolution. One of the first measures implemented by the new government was establishing an alternative housing policy, the SAAL, which promoted collective processes of design, construction, and management. Although short-lived, the SAAL program emphasized the socialization of housing, shunning individual endeavours and encouraging collectivity. Many artists, including Leite, were inspired by the hope of creating better living conditions while maintaining strong ties to their community.
For a brief but explosively creative year after the dissolution of SAAL, the streets of Porto – long regarded as an unsanitary working-class neighbourhood in the city centre – became a place for art, participation, and discourse for and by children. Part of this unique moment, Leite’s project encouraged the children of Pena Ventosa to participate in their communities by integrating their personal interests with their surroundings. The results were a new sense of pride, agency, and affirmation through art.