|Manuel Pereira da Silva
Manuel Pereira da Silva was born in Portelas, in 14 de Maio Street, Vila Nova de Gaia, on 7 December 1920.
In October 1928, he started his education at Cabanões primary school. After he sat the 2nd level exams, at Palhacinhas school, his father enrolled him in the Faria Guimarães Industrial School (currently Soares dos Reis Artistic Secondary School), to take the joinery course. The following year, he changed to the Drawing course.
After completing his secondary school studies, he enrolled in the School of Fine Arts in Porto, in 1939. Here, he studied under the supervision of Joaquim Lopes, Acácio Lino and Rodolfo Pinto Couto, and had as colleagues Arlindo Rocha, Júlio Resende, Eduardo Tavares, Isolino Vaz, Nadir Afonso and Fernando Azevedo, some of which were part of the "Grupo dos Independentes" (Group of Independents). He received two awards: the Teixeira Lopes Award and the Soares dos Reis award. His final thesis was on Nuno Álvares Pereira, and he obtained a final mark of 18 out of 20.
In 1946, he left for Paris. He spent the following two years studying at the École des Beaux-Arts, shared the experience of the great masters at the Louvre, came into contact with the new artistic trends and attended open courses, where he learned, among others, the fresco mural painting technique, which was later used in the Santa Luzia Church, in Viana do Castelo.
In his workshop in Afonso de Albuquerque Street, in Vila Nova de Gaia, he produced two types of works: realist sculptures, to meet the commissions he received, and more abstract and independent-type of sculptures, which can be found in many Portuguese and African cities, for instance, Viana do Castelo, Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, Bolama, in Guinea – Bissau, and Luanda, in Angola.
Among the sculpture work he produced, we highlight the torsos of his friends Fernando de Araújo Lima, Adriano de Sá Figueiredo and Adelino Gomes; the monument to the Athlete (1973), erected in the Gândara Square, in Vila Nova de Gaia; the monument to the American general and statesman Ulysses Grant (1822-1847), in front of Bolama City Hall (1955); and the low relief work in Ançã stone, for the Audience Room of the 3rd Court Division of the Porto Court House, depicting D. Pedro Pitões near the Porto Cathedral summoning the crusaders to help Afonso Henriques in the conquest of Lisbon, dated 1961.
Manuel Pereira da Silva also produced a low relief in multi-coloured ceramics for the façade of a building in Luanda, dated 1960; the figure of the Lavrador (Farmer), in Gulpilhares; the fire-fighters in Avintes and Gondomar; the monument to the benefactor of Sandim, Fernando Couto; the monument in homage to furniture, in Paços de Ferreira; the torso of Alves de Sousa, in Vilar de Andorinho, Vila Nova de Gaia; the torso of Henrique Moreira and Francisco Viana, in the Clube Recreativo Avintense; the torso of historian José Hermano Saraiva, a tribute by the Confraria da Broa de Avintes; A Maternidade (Maternity), a bronze sculpture for the Marquês de Pombal Square, in Porto, dated 1958; and the torso of announcer Fernando Pessa, offered by the author to honoured individuality.
At the same time that he was involved with sculpture, he lectured in secondary schools between 1949 and 1991, he experimented with different drawing techniques, and his paintings where marked by feminine themes and by the use of geometric lines and rich imagery: portraits, frescoes on A Paixão de Cristo (Passion of Christ) for the chapel at the Santa Luzia Church in Viana do Castelo, in 1956, the frescoes on the wall of the shoe store "Branca de Neve", in Santa Catarina Street, in 1957, and two ornamental figures on a building in Marquês de Pombal Garden, in Porto, etc.
In 2000, he received the Cultural Merit medal, awarded by the Vila Nova de Gaia City Hall.