The Umbrellas of Agueda – a wonderland of creative expression

Every so often, an artist does something truly inspired, something that makes you physically stop in the street and stare.  In Águeda, a small Portuguese town, an artist did exactly that by decorating some of the streets with colourful umbrellas as part of the Agitagueda festival. The installation is an initiative by the council, in the small town just south of Porto. Basically nothing is known about the artist behind the installation, but what cannot be denied is the inevitable smile that will leap across somebody’s face as they walk in its shade. 

Photographs of a delightful public art installation in Portugal have recently surfaced. A flock of brightly colored umbrellas float over a shopping street in Águeda, a small Portuguese town along the country’s northwest coastline known for, well, not very much it seems. Almost as little is know about the installation, save for these photographs and brief commentary from flickr user Patrícia Almeida. Regardless of its provenance, the work is lively enough to inspire interludes of song and dance (or pantomime) that color the iconic 1964 film “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”. Here, the cheerful formation of parasols is suspended in mid-air, bathing the promenade in their colorful glow, while casting an array of octagonal shadows to shade pedestrians from the hot summer sun.

These photos were taken by Patricia Almeida and Diana Tavares. Although these photographers were not directly involved with the creation of the installation, without them, most of us wouldn’t even know about it. So thanks to them for sharing these beautiful photos.  “I felt like a kid, amazed by all that colour!” – says Patricia who titled her photos “Umbrella Roof” and the “Sky of Umbrellas”.

I think the installation is a perfect example of how not being afraid to think outside the box can produce something truly remarkable.  What is even more remarkable is that this a local council initiative! Hopefully our Australian councils take notice and we see our own streets adorned with unique artwork, but for now we will have to content ourselves with this Portugese treat.

If you have your own inspired ideas you would like to turn into reality, or perhaps know the identity of the unknown artist behind this creation, why not give us a call?

Nikki Williams
Director of Brand Projects

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