(Imagem de João Vilhena em destaque na notícia)
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"SANTIAGO – Fifteen years after traveling to the island of Lanzarote to photograph writer Jose Saramago (1922-2010), artist and photographer João Vilhena returned to retrace the steps he and the Nobel laureate took during their earlier strolls around the isle off the African coast.
“To Jose, Lanzarote was the place that allowed him to think about his work and his way of looking at life, and made it possible for him to reconnect with himself,” Vilhena said in an interview with EFE.
The Portuguese artist’s exhibit, “Lanzarote: Jose Saramago’s Window,” recently opened at the Spain Cultural Center in Santiago.
The show includes 29 photographs from both of Vilhena’s visits to the Spanish island, arranged to provide a visual counterpart to the words of Saramago’s diary of his life there, “Cadernos de Lanzarote.”
Portugal’s most prominent man of letters settled on Lanzarote in 1993 with his second wife, Spanish journalist Pilar del Rio.
Vilhena, whose first visit to Lanzarote in 1998 coincided with the announcement of Saramago’s Nobel Prize in Literature, went back to the volcanic island three years after the writer’s death to capture the echoes of the author’s voice in the untamed landscape that inspired him so much.
“This magic island was an adopted homeland that completely transformed Saramago, not only in the way he lived and communicated, but also in the style of his writing,” Vilhena said.
The intense hues of clouds, the whistling of the wind and the sound of steps on volcanic ground led Saramago into a new, more philosophical phase that produced novels such as “Todos os Nomes” (All the Names), “Ensaio sobre a Cegueira” (Blindness) and “O Homen Duplicado” (The Double).
Far from being solemn and distant, on the island of volcanoes Vilhena found a Saramago who was approachable and of “incommensurable sweetness.”
Lanzarote became a second homeland for Saramago, a silent refuge where he could isolate himself from a world he had often denounced as cynical and cowardly."