Six sculptures pay homage to cork producers in Silves

The set of six sculptures of “Homage to Corticeiros”, by Carlos Correia, was inaugurated on Worker's Day, […]

The set of six sculptures from “Homenagem ao Corticeiros”, by Carlos Correia, was inaugurated on Labor Day, May 1, in Silves. The pieces, on display at the Cruz de Portugal and at the roundabout nearby, are intended to recall a sector (and a profession) that are part of the identity of that city.

These sculptures, in addition to representing the arrival of cork to the factories, which was transported by donkeys, guided to Silves by their owners, also show how the workers worked, namely the pickers, who selected the corks, separating them according to the its quality.

Also represented are the men who scraped the outside of the boards that arrived from the cork oak forest, one of the most difficult cork works, as it was carried out outdoors, being one of the first steps in the preparation of cork.

Rosa Palma, mayor of Silves, highlighted, in the solemn act of inauguration of these sculptures, that «Silves was, and still is, a city of workers».

«The cork industry had, in Silves, in the 1890th and 40th centuries, one of its main capitals. In XNUMX, XNUMX% of the national workers in this industry, in which Portugal is still the world leader, worked in Silves. Many of us are children or grandchildren of cork producers», he added.

The mayor even highlighted the fact that, despite the fact that this industry has almost disappeared in the county today, «it was from the Amorim factory in Silves that the clusters that amazed the world at the world exhibitions in Hannover and Shanghai, in 2000 and 2010, respectively, came out. ».

Thus, and because throughout the history of Silves, cork workers were among those who, according to Rosa Palma, «contributed the most to its good name, to its development, to its economic prosperity», considered the municipality that it would be «great. elementary justice to pay homage, jointly and symbolically, to all those men and women who indelibly shaped our identity».

António Goulart, representative of the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), praised the gesture of the Chamber of Silves, which in his opinion translates into a true tribute to workers, especially to cork workers, who have always fought for their labor rights .

At the inauguration, a large part of the audience was, in fact, made up of former workers.

Carlos Correia, author of the work, referred, in turn, the importance of this industry and the pleasure he had in representing the men and women who worked in it, a process that led him to discover much of the history and gestures and habits associated with this activity.