Messejana is a collection of projects I developed during my time at an artist residency in Portugal. The focus of the residency was to explore new forms of illustration while learning about the history of the village.

Messejana is a town of approximately 600 people, but despite its small size, its history spans centuries. The town dates back to the 13th century and ruins from this time are scattered across the surrounding landscape. During the residency, I realized a handful of projects including a mural and a short animated film.

MURAL

The mural was inspired by three aspects of the village:

  • People – Messejana is a close-knit community with an aging population.
  • Traditions –The town is known for a regional chair weaving technique known as buinho.
  • Color – Buildings in town are painted white and blue. These bright colors are a stark contrast to the muted green and brown landscapes surrounding the village.

The finished mural spanned 550 cm by 240 cm.

ANIMATION

With the town’s aging population, there’s a chance it’ll become deserted in the next few decades. I wanted to make an animated story that conveys the feeling of Messejana while also inspiring viewers to reflect on the history of these “forgotten villages”.

Developing the art direction for this piece involved a series of storyboards that featured the landscapes surrounding the town.