Sculpture of a soldier in uniform waving
Art,  Photographing Public Art,  Portugal,  Travel galleries

Gallery: a wartime farewell in Tavira

When we visited Tavira for the day from our weekend base in Faro, I couldn’t help noticing the life-size statue of a soldier outside the station. He holds his kit bag in his right hand while his left is raised in farewell.

Sculpture of a soldier in uniform waving

A soldier’s farewell

Across the road stands his wife or girlfriend waving back. She wears a simple summer dress; it must be a nice day. But windy; look at the way the soldier’s tie is whipped up as it catches a breeze.

Sculpture of a young woman waving

She tries to smile as she waves goodbye

A nearby plaque, in Portuguese, explains that this is (unsurprisingly) a military memorial. The sculpture was the work of the Belgian sculptor Francis Tondeur and was placed here in January 2001.

The inscription on the plaque reads:

Em homenagem ao passado militar da cidade embelezando com os cataventos que marcam o movimento, a luz e a dinamica de contactos desta terra

Google Translate insists that this means:

In honour of the city’s military past, embellishing it with weathervanes that mark the movement, light and dynamics of contacts in this land.

And I have too little Portuguese to contradict, even though there are no weathervanes in sight!

The soldier’s eyes have since unfortunately been disfigured, vandalised; but I still found it a moving memorial to the separations caused by war. And all the more poignant given the number of families wrenched apart by the current fighting in Ukraine.

Sculpture of a soldier in uniform waving

A closer look at him …

Sculpture of a young woman

… and at her

So I’m sharing the two works for this week’s Photographing Public Art challenge and in tribute to / support of those Ukrainian families.

Sculpture of a young woman waving

His view of her (shot looking over his shoulder)

I visited Tavira on a day trip from Faro in April 2022


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