The story is told by António, who was born “in a fishing village near the mouth of a very large river”. The boy, who “lived in a house that had a sandy bottom and tasted of salty air, tells us. A country with seagulls adorning the roofs and boats, streets with palm trees, women with ballast heads and long, round skirts. “
António was fascinated by the adventures of Pirilampo: “An old fisherman, already without the strength to hold his own in the tide, would spend his days and often part of the nights in a corner of the pier, lost in the ocean sky as if he is still waiting big dream. Pirilampo was now a fisherman of stars and men. “
The nickname “Pirilampo” won it because the pipe was always lit, illuminating the night and the wise smile. It will be this former deep-sea fisherman who will help the children of the village rescue a baby dolphin that has been lost from its mother and gone to the beach.
The author of the text, Carlos Canhoto, who does not live near the sea, told the PUBLIC that this story was born in Quarteira in the Algarve: “On an evening stroll at the pier of the fishing port, I met an old fisherman with black eyes from the sea smokes his pipe. He was alone, in the wind and the cold, and the ebony black of his skin made me imagine that I would dream of other places, that I would have my thoughts on other docks. “
When he decided the story would be aimed at the school audience, he added saving a dolphin with children. Another decision was that the illustrations would be by Paulo Galindro. Since the publisher interested in the publication “cannot make the edition economically viable”, the author published the book via his own editorial brand, which he had created: Garatuja – Semeando Afectos.
From classics to tattoos
The illustrator also told PÚBLICO about his creative process: “From the very first moment I wanted the book to be inspired by the illustrations of old literature classics like Robinson Crusoe and Moby Dick. Illustrations that took up one page and were often done using the woodcut technique. “
He revealed that it still “crossed his mind” to create the illustrations “in a puristic way with linoleum and the subsequent print, which would later be digitized and edited in a digital environment”. But time, as he says, “is always a diabolical variable in these things in books”. Then he decided on the “digital root illustration in a graphic reinterpretation of the old classics”.
This look at the classics also dictated the choice of font for the book (Century Schoolbook) and the use of chapter letters at the beginning of each page or chapter, a solution he says he uses a lot. This “pursuit” of the old classics also led to a break in the tattoo universe.
“For these sea wolves – like the old Pirilampo – tattoos were seen as protection, as a travel diary and even as mementos of random passions,” describes Paulo Galindro, who is also an architect. And he adds, “I wanted the book to be like a tattoo. That’s why I also examined the aesthetics of the old-school tattoo and the so-called Sailor Jerry, which makes a big impression in the book’s illustrations. “
So he learned from the iconography and symbology of the sailor tattoos that they were “much more than a decorative ornament”. Representative examples: “A swallow marks five thousand nautical miles; A nautical star was a mystical compass to always find the way home. A turtle marked the initiation ritual of those who crossed the equator for the first time. An anchor recorded the crossing of the Atlantic, a mermaid marked a love in a harbor. “
About the children’s characters in the book he says: “The characters from the film Aniki-Bobó by Manoel de Oliveira came to my mind.” And he guarantees: “Any resemblance to them is no accident (whoever speaks the truth deserves none Punishment).”
He also said he took the opportunity to “sincerely appreciate Master David Bowie,” but did not reveal where. “You have to buy the book to find out.”
Bees, pupae and pupae
Carlos Canhoto saw the illustrator’s work only after he was done. He was satisfied. “I thought it was worth writing the text to see Paulo’s fantastic illustrations.”
The author of the text is a beekeeper and lives on a hill in the Alentejo: “I also have a vegetable garden and a small orchard with trees that I planted and tended myself.” However, he is engaged in other activities: “I love stories to invent and bring dolls and dolls to life. ”They end up in schools, libraries and private homes, where they have long promoted reading sessions and storytelling.
In an animation he made in Ílhavo at the Museu do Bacalhau, Pirilampo became one of the heroes of Terra Nova. Initially, the figure of the fisherman in the Algarve had brought him to other goals: “It led me to the suffering of the old Cape Verdean workers in São Tomé, to the nostalgia with which they die from the islands they were on and cannot return. “
The 2006 Maria Rosa Colaço Prize winner with O Monte Secou, written with Zé Gandaia (edited by Pé de Page in 2007), has published more than a dozen titles that are part of the National Reading Plan.
About this book he says sincerely: “I have never lived on the beach, I am not a sailor. I learned the art of fishing from my father and I think that Pirilampo is one of the stories that I lived without having lived – a story that now lives in the realm of memories that we are not sure of whether they have invented it or been lived. “
The old fisherman stayed on the pier for a while, waiting for the mermaid to rescue him from a cod school in the freezing waters of Newfoundland.
António, the narrator, grew up, went and returned. Pirilampo was no longer on the pier, but his pipe still lights up his memory today.
Text: Carlos Canhoto
Illustration: Paulo Galindro
Edition: Editions Garatuja
32 pages, 12 € (10.80 € online)
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