Outdoor exhibition proposes a walk through the memories of a disappeared Praia da Rocha

Large photographs, some of them unpublished

Start of the guided tour of the outdoor exhibition – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

Barbara Boulter's parents came to Praia da Rocha in 1962 to take care of the Penguin Solar Pension. Pepe Feu's grandfather was the first owner of the small palace built on the cliff that, one day, was to become the Pensão Bela Vista, now a small luxury hotel. Maria do Vale Cartaxo is one of the young women portrayed in a black and white photograph, from the 50s, on the beach at Praia da Rocha.

All of them – BJ Boulter, Pepe Feu and Maria do Vale – met again this Saturday at the end of the day, in the riverside area of ​​Portimão, next to Casa Inglesa, for the inauguration of the open-air exhibition «Walk through the History of Praia da Rocha» .

"I wanted to bring my mother, who is 102 years old, but it's very hot and I thought it would be better to bring her here another day, at a cooler hour," BJ Boulter told Sul Informação. Before, the artist had already been with her son and other family members to see the photographs and other images of the Pensão Solar Penguin, which, in addition to being a summer place literally on top of the Praia da Rocha cliff, was also a meeting point for a cup (or several) and many conversations, over the decades.

This open-air exhibition, with large photographs, some of them unpublished, can be seen until 19 September. This is another initiative of the Group of Friends of the Museum of Portimão, which had the collaboration of the Museum and the local Parish Council.

This is already the fourth edition of the exhibition project abroad «Passing through History», started in 2017, by the Group of Friends of the Portimão Museum, which involves showing large-scale photographs, seeking to surprise and confront visitors with an unexpected, but nice meeting.


Barbara Boulter at the panel with photographs of Solar Penguin – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

At the opening of the show, the guide it was José Gameiro, scientific director of the Portimão Museum. But he had the help of many of the people who attended the inauguration, who wanted to add stories to the stories that the photographs and other images tell, of a Praia da Rocha so different from the current one.

The exhibition recalls relevant aspects that marked the landscape, social, urban and cultural evolution of Praia da Rocha, and which, over time, since the beginning of the XNUMXth century, have transformed the Atlantic front of Portimão into one of the most cosmopolitan tourist and tourist areas. bathing in Portugal.

A memorable journey is proposed, transported by the beloved vans and vans of “Castelo e Caçorino”, to the discovery of the first hotels, villas and chalets, as well as groups of bathers, or the breathtaking landscapes, cliffs, rocks and nooks.

It will also be remembered the gaming and entertainment space of the old Casino, where, in 1915, the 1st Algarve Regional Congress took place, and also the animation of the Avenida Pavilion, in the 30s.

«It is at the turn of the XNUMXth century that local elites develop a greater relationship with their beach and we witness the arrival of vacationers and excursionists, accusing the decline of spa habits, and the arrival of the first “touristes” begins.

Other Algarvians from neighboring lands, Alentejo families, some from Lisbon, Andalusians driven mainly by the canning industry businesses are also beginning to visit it», explain the organizers.


José Gameiro showing, Pepe Feu peeking out – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

Praia da Rocha emerged as one of the most promising beach resorts in the country, due to the sculptural beauty of its rocks, sand quality and mild climate.

The organizers of this Walk through the History of Praia da Rocha make a «very special thanks» to José Gameiro and Rui Nicolau from the Portimão Museum, to the members and friends of GAMP, António Feu, Margarida Tengarrinha, Maria do Vale Cartaxo, Manuel Mendonça, Barbara Boulter, Gabriela Valadas, Daniel Cartucho, Gisela Lima, Maria Estela, Bruno Fonseca, Maria Gabriel, Teresa Balté, Foto Tempera, as well as the Portimão and Costume Museums of S. Brás de Alportel, for the «kind support and transfer of images and information”, without forgetting, among other photographers, the “precious photographic and artistic legacy” of Júlio Bernardo and Francisco Oliveira.


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação





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