Naif Museum José Miguel da Fonseca
One day like many others, I once again arrived in Portugal to spend a few days with “my” Miguel who had come to pick me up at the airport. In the car that was taking us back to Segéal, he told me: “You who love fish, you will be happy, there is much at home.” And I thought, “Oh la la! there will be a lot of smell … “but a man is married with all his context, or he does not marry him. So the smell and the fish came out of my head completely. We dined in the small restaurant near us, then we went back to sleep and while I was taking off my sweater, he took my hand, taking me to a small, closed shed, in front of the house. The “attentive” of the dried and painted fish was waiting for me, leaning against the vases, others hanging from the ceiling; there were all the colors, some leaning on some boats, others on stones … everywhere. We entered and all these little wonders jumped in my eyes: “Oh! Miguel … but it’s wonderful. “Nothing else …: his vocation was born. And dreaming, I thought of the responsibility we have towards such simple beings: if I had said: “what a horror” or “this is not worth anything”, in his disappointment he would have thrown everything into the trash. What joy and splendor would then be lost.
From the beginning to our lost moments, in Sétubal, Miguel and I went for a walk. One day Miguel takes me to the dump and our eyes were on all these useless things that rustled and rotted covered with time and others from the grass. At a certain moment his eyes fall on an old brush that had no more than 3 or 4 hairs and collects it. Until that moment he was painting with one of his pigeon feathers and a nail for the perforations. In my naivety I thought that was enough, but when I saw his joy in having found this poor old brush, I bought him a new one … and excited: “now that he gave me a brush, everything changes!” And I thought , dreamer, to the responsibility that one has when there are so simple beings nearby.
Much later, after at least 20 years and maybe more, he would take two small tins of color from time to time and say to me: “What do you think, I put this blue or green?” And I tried to help him find himself by pretending to give him my opinion … “I’m going to put that, it ended up by saying putting your hands on a third little jar.