festival of brown 2009


now that we are gone

the brown world has moved away, back to its various apartments, and we are slowly recovering. sabine portela and peter pick undertake a new adventure, carrying brown offerings to paradela do rio where they will hold a joint exhibition of paintings, video, music and photography without all the attendant distractions of the festival. this exhibition will open on the 3rd of october at 17.oo and continue on sunday 4th at arte da terra, http://www.clayarte.com/ .
sabine will be showing a series of 15 entirely previously unseen pictures with a startling surface density. she has also promised us a little brown shrine. peter will play his brown water video and reveal other musical adventures, display new photographs and may also read his poem things to say about brown, if bribed suffficiently heavily.

you will all be very welcome and may be awarded special chocolate if you are lucky.


was a more relaxed experience for all of us. apart from the permanent exhibition and the continuous slideshow from international photographers an outdoor workshop in paint and clay supervised by maria carvalho and sabine portela was enjoyed by many children, adults and people in between. strange and extraordinary clay sculptures were produced and 3 primary colours were mixed together to create both brownish and decidedly un-brown prints on a sheet of brown paper about 7 metres long. much fun was had, and much smearing went on. children played draughts (checkers to you) and spillikins (mikado to you. or pick-up-sticks) in the back room where the schools library service set up a display on the theme of a rainbow of brown. towards evening peter pick showed his own brown slideshow with music by richard miles and himself, and then played his video again, this time not quite so loud. there was more african music.

eventually, everyone started to go home and various sabines and their friends tried to eat delicious cold food in salle 1 before the children ate it all. no easy task.

the artists and works featured were
iolanda parente - paintings
sabine portela - painting and persephone.
josé teixeira - "poeta", ceramic installation with lights.
maria carvalho - ceramics, "ao vento" and "luas"
richard miles - painting and stringed instrument.
eugénia cavaca - earth paintings on glass and metal.
mário rocha - painting, "another view".
francisco araújo - traditional wood carvings of religious subjects.
rodrigo brito - photography. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodrigobrito/
peter pick - poetry, music, video, photography.

photographs for the international slideshow were loaned by these artists

imagemkr1 (jacqueline), usa.
sisasola (anja), germany.
FiatTipoElite, galicia.
AH in Pgh, anne, usa.
casually krystina, krystina stimakovits, england.
Gabri Le Cabri, gabrielle cabri, france.
mark valentine, mark sullivan, usa.
the unbearable brightness of seeing, andré van der ree , the netherlands.
janberckmans, Jan Berckmans, belgium
BisyBackson, marion, the netherlands.
jurek d., Jurek Durczak, poland.
sonofsteppe, Csaba Molnár, hungary.
TiC's wonderland, Daniela Huser, switzerland.
tlate hiin, Takako, usa-japan.
Carlo Pedretti, italy.
athena glow
ubych, edyta, poland.
j neuberger, usa.
Steffen Tuck, australia.
bueno-antonioaugusto, Antônio Augusto Bueno, brazil.
tossthecam, germany.
j@cqued@nck , jacque, brazil.
floebee, Shari Baker, england.
sabine portela, portugal, england.
125ième f 5.6 , france.
robert ragan, slovakia.
HWSH, ireland.
Ryan Brookes, india.
Hk-l, japan.
finsmal, Mike Lusk, usa.
Life Pilgrim, usa.
Miriam HMello, Miriam Homem de Mello, brazil.
peter pick, england.
Greenmonster, svetla, bulgaria.
citlali*, usa.
Alembisque, John Daniels, england.
Robert in Toronto, Robert Wallace, canada.
John Reiff, John Williams, usa.
rusted_flower, Susan, canada.
dontaylor, Don Taylor, usa.
fernandoprats, Fernando Prats, spain.
spezoid, Steve Teso, usa.
*L, Luísa Cortesão, portugal.
htakat, Hercules k, greece.
Jo Casson, Johanna Casson, england.
Mr November, James Berry, england.
m@pestaartje, Maartje Jaquet, the netherlands.
l'homme de l'autre rive, jean-marc barrier, france.
longhairbroad, Cynthia, usa.
blopsmen, Pablo, england, galiza.
antmot, thailand.
iacubs, spain.
ImaginationAlone, Jade Arthur, usa.
Samm Bennett, japan.
mksd, Markus Diedrich, germany.
Guy Batey, germany.
nouredine, نورالدين , germany.
piblo (piblokto), Thomas, sweden.
giarcffej, Jeff Craig, usa.
workers' opposition, Rohan Quinby, usa.
brombromp, italy.
Bruce Grant, usa.
xamaxblue, christine, germany.
Dead Slow, Christopher Hall, usa.
hphettich, hans-peter hettich, austria.
isoldt_bunny, australia.
stormodig, Catherine Lundmark, sweden.
farmor2001, inger hansson, denmark.
erdmöbel, germany.
pogonophobia, david swanson, england.
littlevanities, Zichuan Lian
akiruna, Annemie Hiele, the netherlands.
Rainer, germany.
linthesky, france.
gatalinkica, Vera, serbia.

festival report.......

firstly a great deal of thanks to all who assisted so bravely at the festival, including silva, salvador, maria, armando, abraão and (of course) sabine. the food was great, the workshops enjoyable and well-attended, the technical difficulties were overcome, even the reading went well and we had a very enjoyable and succesful event. special thanks to filomena who came to the rescue with not only a digital projector but also a mobile internet connection and to olinda who revised the portuguese translation and also read the brown poem with exemplary style.

saturday morning.....

after two days of technical rehearsals our dedicated team was ready to show the work of photographers from four continents. on being introduced to the wireless modem the mainframe computer which was at the heart of the complicated multi-media installation crashed, blacking out the screen. it was not until, in desperation, technical staff switched on the projector that it was possible to go through the restore program and reboot the computer to a previous configuration, one which (naturally) predated the delicate adjustments made during the technical rehearsals. frantic work ensued and the slideshow of international photographers was eventually shown succesfully all afternoon through a borrowed touchscreen notebook. thanks are once again due to filomena, and curses upon windows vista.

saturday afternoon.....

salvador portela conducted a hugely popular and productive weaving workshop which overflowed from the room. everyone was very pleased to have produced something at the end, and will no doubt distress everyone for weeks by showing them the results.

the exhibition looked beautiful and included paintings, photographs, ceramics and carvings. saints rubbed shoulders with abstract art, photographic depiction hung beside photographic abstraction. jose texeira's conceptual piece "poeta", a terracotta sphere containing illuminated letters was among my favourites. sabine portela's brown abstracts looked positively edible. a feast of brown for eyes and minds.

saturday evening....

peter pick read his poem only after throwing a wild tantrum about being half-an-hour behind schedule, claiming he had important business to attend to (a transparent lie). the people assembled reluctantly in salle 1, leaving their delicious feast of pork and chestnuts to observe the ageing maniac gesture and orate from the lectern. in the event his performance was received with rapturous incomprehension, and maria olinda alves pereira read beautifully her revised portuguese translation, receiving a well-deserved ovation.

saturday night.....

paper bag lanterns illuminated the grounds. andré passos played the guitar and sang outside while peter pick showed a video with brown music in salle 2. most people seemed a little threatened by the pulsating light and thumping, distorted noise. there was then a selection of african music to lighten the mood.

later, a festival of fire was initiated when a queimada gallega was performed by armando martins and various volunteers. a mixture of bagaço (a distillation of grapeskins), honey, sugar, oranges, coffee beans and fire was created to the accompaniment of a recitation of magical words or spells. the resultant liquid was consumed by the assembled company with unpredictable results......

coisas para dizer sobre castanho

pensa em castanho, a cor quase ignorada, vista mas despercebida...

onde está o traço castanho no espectro?
ao se decompor, a luz não o oferece.

demasiado banal para os teóricos, demasiado modesto para se exibir,
excluído do arco-íris, possui todavia extensão e profundidade,
adapta-se, é prático e simples.

aproxima-se do vermelho, mas do vermelho rubro afasta-se, para se misturar com o amarelo vivo, combinando-se com o azul tranquilo

como cresceríamos na ausência do castanho? ele é o suporte do verde que eleva ao céu, ele sustém-no

ele está junto do cinzento e é humilde. embaralha as cores e lá encontrarás o castanho
(é a minha experiência.)

alguns dizem que é apenas uma tonalidade, como o preto ou o branco,
mas isso é muito injusto. o castanho tem calor:

as coisas pardas tornam-se castanhas no forno,
as pessoas mais palidas bronzeiam-se ao sol.

o castanho é antigo, leva consigo o esfumado do tempo, a mácula,
a mancha da memória. o castanho não está ultrapassado. o castanho é útil, o castanho é de todos os dias.

ou tão rico quanto o castanho envernizado, incendiado, de uma castanha da india.

apenas podemos louvá-lo um pouco, apenas exultá-lo…..

o campo outonal. o bosque macio.

em breve as folhas serão outonos,
a nudez cobrirá as árvores

e tudo de um castanho imóvel quase cinzento

things to to say about brown

think of brown, the disregarded colour, seen but overlooked….
where is the brown segment in the spectrum?
if you split light brown does not fall out.

too earthy for the theorists, too modest for display, excluded from the rainbow, it still has
range and depth, it is adaptable, it’s practical and plain.

it comes near red but hot red turns away to mix with sunny yellow, blend with peaceful blue.

how would we grow without brown?
it holds green up to the sky,

it nourishes.

it stands next to grey and is humble.

muddle all the colours and you will find brown
there (in my experience.)

some say it’s just a tone, like black or white,
but that is quite unfair. brown has warmth:
pale things brown in ovens, pink people turn brown in the sun.

brown is old, it bears the smears of time, the stain,

the smudge of memory.
brown is not outworn. brown is useful, brown is everyday.

or as rich as the burnished auburn of a new conker.

we might just eulogise a little, we might extol......

the autumn field. the soft forest.

soon now all the leaves will be autumns,
there will be nakedness among trees
and everything a still brown that is almost grey.


Castanho é a cor subestimada, mas muito depende dela. Muitas coisas boas são castanhos;
até a própria terra. Embora o castanho nem aparece no arco-iris nem na roda das cores, é tempo para celebrar e honrar o castanho. Nesta festa queremos explorar alguns aspectos do castanho através da poesia, cerâmica, fotografia, video, música, pintura etc. e finalmente da culinária.

Sábado, 19 de Setembro, 15.30 às 24.00h
Exposição permanente de Fotografia (Peter Pick e Rodrigo Brito), Pintura (Richard Miles, Iolanda Parente, Sabine Portela e Mário Rocha), Esculturas em madeira (Sentidos), Cerâmica (Maria Carvalho e Zé Teixeira) e outros Objectos (Eugénia Cavaca). Vídeo da ACATE e Slideshow de Fotografias de mais de cem Fotógrafos de todo mundo.
15.30h às 19.00h Workshop de Tecelagem (Salvador Portela)
Agrupamento de Escolas Pintor José de Brito - Biblioteca Escolar
Performance "Encontrei um arco-iris castanho na Bilioteca".
21.00 Poesia (Ben Hengefeld e Peter Pick) ,
21.30h Vídeos celebrando o Castanho (Peter Pick) e em seguir Música electrónica com Slideshow (Peter Pick em colaboração com Richard Miles).
22.15h Música africana.

Bar (Armando Martins e Abraão Moreira)
Espaço exterior à tarde (17.00 h Grupo de Violinos)
à noite (21.30h André Passos – Guitarra e Vocal / Covers)

Domingo, 20 de Setembro, 15.30 às 20.00h
Exposição permanente de Fotografia, Pintura, Escultura em madeira, Cerâmica e outros Objectos
15.30h às 18.30h Workshop experimental com barro, papel e outros materiais (Maria Carvalho e Sabine Portela)
Agrupamento de Escolas Pintor José de Brito - Biblioteca Escolar
Performance " Encontrei um arco-iris castanho na Bilioteca".
Vídeo da ACATE e Slideshow de fotografias de mais de cem fotógrafos de todo mundo. Vídeos celebrando o castanho.

Bar (Armando Martins e Abraão Moreira)

new additions

despite his interminable and sometimes appalling tantrums a revised portuguese translation of peter pick´s keynote poem "things to say about brown" has been prepared by the fragrant and charming maria olinda alves pereira.

the award-winning exponent of traditional portuguese and contemporary textiles salvador portela has agreed to give a workshop in weaving at the festival on saturday afternoon. this is almost booked up already, but bribes to the committee may be found acceptable and tearful children ejected onto the street.

on sunday a workshop in expressive arts exploring materials including clay and paper will be held under the supervision of maria carvalho and sabine portela.

negotiations towards a final running order of events are proceeding, if only slowly, as new contributors are being constantly sought, recruited and confirmed at a dizzying speed. it is envisaged that the afternoons will be devoted to workshops and the evenings more occupied by performances, videos and slideshows, while the exhibition space will be open at all times, and the bar and food will be outside in the grounds throughout.

disaster strikes festival !

the chocolate puppets have melted away.

perhaps due to the hot weather, perhaps due to a previously unknown and inexplicable unavailability of chocolate in portugal, perhaps because of the frankly disgraceful behaviour of that prima donna peter pick, perhaps due to their recent traumatic visit to israel (where they were escorted at all times by armed guards and allowed only to see the airport and the rear of their venue) the MAO-ist guerilla puppet theatre of viana do castelo have withdrawn from their promised performance.

so the headline act, the top billing, the earth-shattering, epoch-making, above-the-title performance of revolutionary chocolate puppeteering is not to be.

the world sighs in disappointment. brown itself is momentarily discouraged.

but we soldier on. your dauntless committee is even now in negotiation with renowned artists in various media in order to shore up the pitiful wreckage of your dreams.

rodrigo brito, the chemical photographer and exponent of surfactants is preparing an exhibit.

abraão moreira of the exclusive click bar and armando martins have taken charge of catering and are organising a concert by renowned performers of the cavacinho.

adventures on arrival

just in time for the inaugural world festival of brown they have started digging up the viana-perre road, (initiating a traffic crisis even greater than that endemic to portugal) in order to install a sewerage system.

brown enough?

we hope not......


the great sabine portela was detained at customs attempting to leave the u.k. in possession of two hard-boiled eggs concealed in her hand luggage.

after extensive negotiations she was permitted to pass through in order to stand on a bus for 20 minutes. reports suggest that she travelled further by coach than by air on her return to portugal, where she was eventually greeted by the usual tearful deputation.


rumours suggest that peter pick has also arrived in portugal. he is making the usual fuss about his accommodation and the number of readings and performances he is expected to do, his position on the billing and publicity material and so-on.