10:05 PMPERSONALITIES IN AZAMBUJA
Sebastião Mateus Arenque
"My greatest happiness is to have a united and close family. To be a man is, precisely, to be human, to be hard-working, to love your land, to love your people, to love people in general and act the best way possible towards the others.”
He is a poet, a story teller and an ethnographer. The museum you visited when you came to Azambuja has his name as a homage to his love for the community and traditions.
He was born in Azambuja in 1923. From an early age he started working in the fields with his parents. At the age of 8 he went to school, but he could only complete the 2nd grade because he had to help his parents support his four siblings.
He joined the army, where he discovered his passion for poetry and started writing.
He later worked for the Town Hall and at the age of 27, he went back to school and completed the 4th grade.
In 1954 he was living far away from Azambuja and due to the fact that he missed life there, he started sending some articles to the local newspaper. He participated in a literary contest with his first tale: "Pão Pr’uma Telha” ( "Bread for a roof-tile”), which was published in an important newspaper.
In 1965 he was invited to rehearse the Folklore Ranch of Azambuja. The Ranch evolved thanks to his past life rich in experiences.
In 1980 he wrote his first book and has never stopped writing ever since. In fact he is on the way of having his 14th book published.
Throughout his life he has attempted to collect traditional songs and folklore dances from the region in order to maintain traditions alive. Fado and folklore run in his veins.
Nowadays he is considered one of the wisest and most respected citizens in town for his life-story and for having deeply contributed to the preservation of a way of life.
Joaquim Boavida Canada
Joaquim Boavida Canada was born on 27th of December 1882 in Vale dos Prazeres, district of Fundão in the North of the country. He arrived to Azambuja in 1919 where he started working as a primary teacher. The school was in the building where you can find the local Library nowadays.
Joaquim settled down in Azambuja and after that he got deeply involved in community life, in the educational area, local government and social institution thus becoming a role model for everyone.
Joaquim Boavida Canada was mayor of Azambuja between 1933 and 1944. During that time Boavida Canada improved many things in Azambuja, which provided better living conditions for the inhabitants of Azambuja. He was also responsible for providing electricity to people in the whole district.
To award Joaquim Boavida Canada for his dedication to the village, the city hall granted him on the 21st of May of 1938 the title of "Honorary Citizen of Azambuja”. After that, the government granted him the title of "Knight of the Military Order of Christ” for his services in the public administration, on the 2nd of June of 1944. Boavida Canada died on the 22nd of November 1954.
Azambuja honored him giving his name to the most recent school of our Agrupamento.
António Canau Espadinha
António Canau Espadinha is a well-known
and international recognized artist who was born in Gavião (Alentejo) and
decided to adopt Azambuja for the past thirty years. He was a teacher at our school in 1993.
He is 45 years old and has graduated in Sculture from the Faculdade de Belas Artes in Lisbon. He took his master degree in 1997 in the Slade School of Fine Arts. Presently he is a teacher at the Architecture University in Lisbon and is an invited member of our School Council.
Some of his pieces are spread all over the world as part of personal collections: drawings, engravings, medals, public art photography in England, Italy, Romania, USA, Japan, Poland, Hungary.
His pieces have been exposed in more than 36 international expositions and he has received several national prizes.
Azambuja likes him a lot. He is a very nice and polite person always ready to help our schools in our students’ art education. The first thing you see when you come to our town is his sculpture, on the first roundabout, as a homage to Azambuja’s Agriculture Worker.
He was a beloved and well respected of Azambuja rural community. Born in Algarve, he had a degree on veterinarian medicine and he came to Ribatejo fifty years ago, where he dedicated his life to agriculture, agro-industrial activities (olive oil, tomato transformation factory, for instance), bulls breeding and Lusitanian horse breeding in his stud farm. His afición for the fiesta, bulls and Ribatejo’s traditions made him a member of the Campo Pequeno, S.A. Society administration (the most famous bullfighting space in Portugal).
The town of Azambuja honoured him giving our bullfight plaza his name.
He died in 2010.
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