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Exhibition celebrates 170 years of Portuguese

  • New country: Jose Raposo (Photograph supplied)
  • Portuguese language singer: Maria Cabral (Photograph supplied)

Antique artefacts that shed light on the origins of the Portuguese community in Bermuda will be on display at an exhibition that starts today.

Portuguese in Bermuda: 170 Years has been curated by Lisa Raposo, a volunteer for the charity Casa Dos Açores da Bermuda, which is hosting the show at Washington Mall.

Ms Raposo said: “I have collected lots of old pictures from members of the Portuguese community.”

Ms Raposo added: “I have some dating back to the 1930s and some more coming, that are even older, of people when they first came here.”

Items include a picture of men who worked on a celery harvest field near the Botanical Gardens and a photograph of Maria Cabral, who was known for her involvement in Portuguese culture.

Ms Raposo said: “She used to sing Fado with the Vasco Da Gama, I have her folklore outfit which is at least 100 years old and it is in pristine condition.”

She added: “There will be lots of information about our traditions and festivals, along with some Portuguese relics including a crochet piece that is at least 70 years old.

“The exhibition talks about how a little group of people amassed to the numbers we have now, there are approximately 12,000 Portuguese in Bermuda.”

A photograph is also included of Ms Raposo’s late father, Jose Raposo, who came to the island more than 50 years ago.

She said: “If he was alive, he would be very proud of this. I have never done anything like this before. I have had a blast.”

Alicia Davis, the assistant secretary for the Casa Dos Açores da Bermuda charity committee, said: “We are trying to promote the traditions and culture of the Azores, so it doesn’t die and through every generation, we know where we came from and what our ancestors did.

“Some of the skills that are dying, we can try to bring them back and keep them alive.

“We also do a lot of work in the community; we fundraise so that we can have our own casa or establishment and we hope to eventually do documentaries, workshops and classes.

“Part of our motto is also to give back to other charities on the island, so each year we choose at least three charities to donate back to.”

• Portuguese in Bermuda: 170 Years opens at the Beluga Bar, Washington Mall, Upper Level, Church Street today. An opening reception will be held from 6.30pm to 7.30pm