Mourão - Alentejo, Portugal 1990

A 'Monte' - hill - in the rural Alentejo has typically a stable for the cows, goats and sheep and some rooms for the farmer.
The beautiful landscape is dominated by harsh pastures, olive trees and cork oaks - the Alentejo is the World's largest producer of cork.

The people living in the Alentejo - called Alentejanos, their characters and way of life, are strongly shaped by the natural conditions around them.

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On every corner, a friend - Alentejo 1990

Andreas Bruhwiler | Alentejo, Portugal

Alentejo - before the Carnation Revolution, 1974

“On every corner, a friend. In every face, equality.
It is the people who command,” sang Zeca (José) Afonso in the outlawed song, ‘Grândola, Vila Morena' - Grândola, burned city’, 1964.

It expressed the feelings of the land workers in the Alentejo: bitterly poor day laborers without rights.
Tens of thousands ended up in the torture prisons of the “PIDE,” the secret police.
There was no freedom of assembly, the highest child mortality rate in Europe, one-third of the people were illiterate.

People in the Alentejo, 1990

Alentejo, the poorest and most neglected part of Portugal.

The rough, although beautiful landscape, manifests itself in the faces of the people.
With the few possessions they have, they are simply happy to be. Their hospitality, even to me, a stranger, is admirable and has no rival.

The photographs show people who shared a moment of their life with me, as their friend on the corner. People, in different stages of life, who have all one thing in common - they are people from the Alentejo.

For many years of my life I have lived in other countries, other language zones, and worked with different people in other cultures.

The experiences that I have had, have influenced my typical Swiss thinking and actions and have also forever changed them. Openness to the different-thinking people around me, being more tolerant of other cultures and their traditions, and being somewhat more calm and having an absolute sense of wholeness while describing these changes for the best.

All of these experiences, including the painful and difficult ones, I view as worthwhile investments. They have contributed to and shaped me into the person I am today.

For three years from 1990 to 1993, I lived in a small town on the Atlantic coast named Cascais. I worked approximately 50 kilometers away in Lisbon. My job took me all over the country.

Next to the almost 20 years that I have lived in the Southeast of the United States, my time in Portugal was the time that changed and influenced me the most.

Alentejo - a terra que menteve um part do meu coração.

Andreas Bruhwiler
Dalton, Georgia (USA)


+1 706 260 1315

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