"A Vala", Francisco Melim's photo-documentary work, we are...READ ON
"A Vala", Francisco Melim's photo-documentary work, we are transported to the center of a traumatic process of uprooting a community, of breaking human ties, and of abruptly displacing people and families to an unknown place. This is, above all, a story of tension and conflict between a municipality and a disadvantaged neighborhood on the outskirts of Lisbon.
October 2, 2022 - Portrait of Dona Maria, mother of Vasquinho.
With all the pressure to evacuate their homes, many people had to leave with...READ ON
With all the pressure to evacuate their homes, many people had to leave with only the essentials. All furniture and large belongings were stored in warehouses while the individuals were relocated to temporary housing.
One of the main streets in the neighborhood.
Moving van being loaded.
October 6, 2022 - Demolition of Grandmother's House.
October 6, 2022 -Workers help residents save some of the materials from the house.
Everything was left suddenly. Many people, until the date when the...READ ON
Everything was left suddenly. Many people, until the date when the demolitions began, had never been notified, and only through pressure and verbal offers did they know where they could go.
The debris was left for weeks on end, leading to the emergence of pests such...READ ON
The debris was left for weeks on end, leading to the emergence of pests such as rats and cockroaches. At the same time, children ended up playing on the rubble due to the lack of safety boundaries. The removal of asbestos took a long time, potentially resulting in its contamination of the Tagus River.
It's important to ensure that residents are not just removed from the...READ ON
It's important to ensure that residents are not just removed from the neighborhood; the issue arises when these individuals have no access to suitable housing options.
The workers during the demolitions often displayed signs of distress in their...READ ON
The workers during the demolitions often displayed signs of distress in their work, having come to view it as just another job.
Toys of children left behind. Radical change in all connections and lives.
October 3, 2022 - Mrs. Helena's daughter, they live together despite...READ ON
October 3, 2022 - Mrs. Helena's daughter, they live together despite existing health issues and had to go through this entire process, often complicating the medical treatments she must undergo at the hospital.
February 10, 2023 - Lunch at Datche's house. She belongs to one of the...READ ON
February 10, 2023 - Lunch at Datche's house. She belongs to one of the families who stayed in the neighborhood, waiting for a permanent housing solution.
The housing market in Portugal is experiencing a perfect storm fueled by a...READ ON
The housing market in Portugal is experiencing a perfect storm fueled by a continuous rise in house prices and rents. Housing is at the center of the contemporary economic and social crisis.
Portugal's housing crisis is a complex problem that affects several...READ ON
Portugal's housing crisis is a complex problem that affects several aspects of society. Due to the rising cost of living and rising house prices, many families are unable to purchase or rent suitable housing, resulting in increasing housing precarity. The well-being of citizens is at risk, as is the country's social cohesion and stability.
The neighborhood 2º Torrão, in the municipality of Almada, is located between the Silopor silos and the Cova do Vapor neighborhood, bordering the Tagus River on its south bank.
It was born in the mid-1970s with the occupation of private land by fishermen who built sheds to store fishing equipment. Gradually, the neighborhood began to welcome inhabitants from Lisbon who enjoyed their vacations there. Many ended up settling in the neighborhood and building the walls of their homes with their own hands, a process that was repeated with the arrival of African immigrants from the former Portuguese colonies. With over 50 years of history, it is estimated that currently, more than a thousand people live in 2º Torrão.
The self-built, precarious, and fragile-looking houses, without established planning or organization, emerged throughout the territory. Part of the buildings were erected over a stormwater ditch that serves the entire neighborhood. With the persistent degradation of the ditch and the growing risk of collapse of at least 83 houses, the Municipality of Almada started an emergency demolition process on October 1, 2022, affecting dozens of residents of the neighborhood.
During this process, many families were relocated to temporary accommodations far from the neighborhood, their jobs, or the schools their children attended. Others, due to interim injunctions and tireless resistance, remained in their homes for some time, awaiting promised permanent housing.
In "Vala (The Ditch)," a photo documentary by Francisco Melim, we are transported to the center of a traumatic process of uprooting a community, breaking human ties, and the abrupt displacement of people and families to an unknown place. Above all, this is a story of tension and conflict between a municipality and an underprivileged neighborhood on the outskirts of Lisbon.
O bairro 2º Torrão, no concelho de Almada, situa-se entre os silos da Silopor e o bairro da Cova do Vapor, e abeira-se do rio Tejo pela sua margem sul.
Nasceu em meados da década de 1970 com a ocupação de terrenos privados por pescadores que ali construíram barracões para armazenar o material de pesca. Aos poucos, o bairro passou a acolher habitantes de Lisboa que ali desfrutavam das férias. Muitos acabam por se fixar no bairro, erguendo com as suas mãos as paredes dos seus lares, processo que se replica com a chegada ao bairro de imigrantes africanos provenientes das antigas colónias portuguesas. Com mais de 50 anos de história, estima-se que vivam actualmente mais de mil pessoas no 2º Torrão.
As habitações auto-construídas, de aspecto precário e frágil e sem planeamento nem ordenamento estabelecido, surgiram por todo o território. Parte do edificado foi erigido sob uma vala de águas pluviais que serve todo o bairro. Com a persistente degradação da vala e o crescente risco de derrocada de pelos menos 83 habitações, a Câmara Municipal de Almada iniciou a 1 de Outubro de 2022 um processo de demolições de emergência que atingiu dezenas de moradores do bairro.
Durante este processo muitas famílias foram deslocadas para alojamentos temporários longe do bairro ou dos empregos ou das escolas que os filhos frequentavam. Outros, por força de providências cautelares e uma incansável resistência, permaneceram por mais algum tempo nas suas casas a aguardar a prometida habitação permanente.
Em “A Vala”, trabalho foto-documental de Francisco Melim, somos transportados para o centro de um processo traumático de desenraízamento de uma comunidade, de quebra de laços humanos e de deslocação abrupta de pessoas e famílias para um lugar desconhecido. Esta é, acima de tudo, uma história de tensão e conflito entre um município e um bairro desprivilegiado da periferia de Lisboa.