Sculptures of Time in the Streets of Guimarães


Guimarães, in Northern Portugal, the cradle city of a nation, where centuries dance with the shadows of resilient walls. "Here Portugal Was Born" – reads an inscription in one of the streets of the city.


Sophia moved here in 2012, the year Guimarães was the European Capital of Culture, and all paths seemed to lead there. Sophia is an artist who finds in her art a refuge for the mysteries of mundane life. Every morning, she opens the curtains of her small studio, letting the golden sunlight weave a new story into her clay sculptures. Feeling the malleability of the earth in her hands, Sophia reflects on the impermanence of life. The shapes she gives to the clay are like existence itself, molded by invisible hands and vulnerable to the touch of time. The aroma of fresh coffee hangs in the air as Sophia immerses herself in her daily tasks. Her fingers, skillful and delicate, draw shapes that capture the essence of the city and the fleeting lines of daily life.


If there's something fascinating in a daily routine, it's that it doesn't erase the new or old doubts that repeat themselves and linger like shadows throughout the day. Every day, Sophia wonders if the forms she sculpts will withstand the test of time, if her hands can freeze the essence of Guimarães, or if, in the end, everything will fade away like the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.


In the late afternoon, as the historic squares come to life, Sophia allowed herself to escape through the stone paths that dominate the city. The Toural Square, pulsating with activity, was one of her favorite havens. There, she sat at a discreet café, observing life unfolding before her like an improvised theatrical piece. She loved to watch people passing by, loved to question the meaning of the effervescence around her. The relationships she observed in the squares were like small dramas, and she wondered if her own love affairs were just scenes in a grand theater production.


It was in these moments that she’d meet Bernardo, a wandering musician whose guitar notes echoed between the centenary façades. Bernardo, with eyes reflecting untold stories, became her accomplice in romantic escapes through the city. Between whispered laughter and promises made to the wind, they shared the present as if the past were just a distant shadow. Sophia needed this escape, this present without past or future that Bernardo brought to her.


And in the shared sighs, with truth, open questions would arise about the ephemeral nature of love. Each promise made to the wind brought with it the insecurity of whether these words would echo in the future or be absorbed by the silence of time.


The nights saw Sophia and Bernardo exploring hidden corners of Guimarães, where the narrow streets became spectators of stolen hugs and whispered confessions. Under the moonlight bathing the city, they were writing their own story, a narrative of passion intertwined with the ancient stones that had witnessed centuries of ephemeral romances. Each street they traversed seemed like a brief chapter, a present narrative that ignored whether these registered hugs would be forever remembered or irreversibly lost in the vain alleys of memory.


There are questions for which we have no answers. That's how life is. And amid transitory encounters and sculptures coming to life in her hands, Sophia just lived.


As Sophia delved deeper into Guimarães, her artistic gaze would seek inspiration in the city's places. In the Guimarães Castle, where centennial stones whispered secrets of battles and conquests, she’d find metaphors for the resistance of her own creations. The walls, silent witnesses of history, were like the structures she builds with her hands, defying time.


Walking through the medieval alleys of the historic center, she absorbed the essence of the squares where past and present converged. São Tiago Square, with its well-kept tiny medieval houses, was like a living canvas where the city's stories intertwined with her own sculpted narratives. Right next door, at Oliveira Square, a centuries-old olive tree witnessed the pulsation of life around it. Solid, robust, like her own works, rooted in the city's history. And as Bernardo strummed melodies by moonlight, Sophia felt part of the cradle city that embraced her.


More and more, for Sophia, Guimarães was not just a setting but rather a constant muse, inviting her to reveal her inner world. Each sculpture, each brushstroke, represented a response to a call. On every corner, in every square, Sophia felt the heartbeat of a city challenging her to transcend the boundaries of the ephemeral, creating something that would last over time - just like the centennial stones under her feet.




* This text was crafted through the collaboration between artificial intelligence and human creativity, attempting to capture the literary spirit of the renowned author Clarice Lispector. In the streets of the cradle city of Portugal, we stumble upon history and art, searching for essence, a feature that defines the work of this Brazilian writer and journalist, born in Ukraine. The Portuguese used here is, therefore, the one spoken and written in Brazil.