Sunday, February 5, 2012

12 good reasons to go to Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe

1 – People: São Tomé receives only about 20 tourists per week. Probably for that reason, people are really friendly. You will be able to engage with the local population including artists and artisans while also having a chance to enjoy the sleepy fishing villages, the exotic biodiversity jungles, and the old colonial plantations of São Tomé.

2 – Studio: You will be able to work and to show your pieces at the headquarters of CACAU, located in a huge colonial building (5mn walking from the Hotel). CACAU aims to function as a dynamic central hub of the national culture in all its aspects. 

3 – Housing: the staff of the Hotel Avenida will take great care of you. Last year, students felt they were family. Located in a calm zone right in front of the Cathedral and the Presidential Palace, all rooms with air conditioning, telephone, satellite TV, private bathroom and mini-bar. Bar and restaurant with Portuguese and Santomean cuisine. The beach is 5 mn walking from the hotel.

4 – Culture: the culture of São Tomé and Príncipe offers a cultural mosaic in its people. Have you ever met Charlemagne and the Count of Mantua? Well, it is possible in São Tomé. You will participate in the ceremony of Tchiloli, Danca of Congo and you will attend sessions of Batuqueiras, Bulauê, Puita and others. You will have the opportunity to work with craftsman.

5 – Food: You won’t get any hassle to be a vegetarian in São Tomé and you will eat fairly well for a cheap price. For vegans, the choice is similar. If you eat fish, you are in heaven, of course. There are several restaurants in the capital, augmented by a considerable number of more informal eating establishments patronized by the inhabitants.  STP is an equatorial country and there are a lot of tropical fruits that you have probably never seen or tasted.

6 - Concept Art: São Tomé is a waking dream for any concept artist. In São Tomé reality is more intense than your dreams. On the islands, the Portuguese people built beautiful plantations, incredible architecture and short lines of railroads surrounded by the jungle. . Also a great artists like Schuiten never even imagine such a dreamlike landscape.

7 - Biodiversity: Nature is everywhere present in São Tomé (The WWF after recent expedition classified the Sao Tome and Principe forests as one of the world 200 eco-region, which means as one of the 200 most important biodiversity area in the world); from one end to another it's just green with beautiful trees, isolated beaches around the island, barely occupied by a few fishermen. Half the population lives in the islands lost in the middle of the forest. Here it is; suddenly you feel yourself like being in Treasure Island.

8 – Cocoa and Chocolate: The island of São Tomé was the world's largest producer of cocoa in 1908, and the crop is still its most important. You will have the chance to visit plantations and Claudio Corallo’s company who owns cocoa fields and coffee plantations and produces great chocolates and coffees. For the past decade, Corallo has been on a quest to produce some of the finest dark chocolate in the world. Equally unusually, he controls the entire process, from the tree to the bar.

9 – Climate: Equatorial climate. The main dry season, Gravana, is from early June to late September. 77 degrees F. to 81 degrees F. No rain. The south of the main island, being mountainous, is wetter than the north. Just the right time to be São Tomé.

10 – Cape Verde: Like Sao Tome, Cape Verde were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th Century, and became important in the Atlantic slave trade for their location. Music in Cape Verde is woven into the very fabric of life and it informs and is informed by the often brutal history and culture of the islands; and although it is a ubiquitous presence it never feels stagey or performance based, rather it is part of the very essence of island life. During a stay there the subtle rhythms and the delicate melodies of the mornas and the driving surges of the Funanas seep into you almost imperceptibly, and on your return you'll find yourself humming tunes you didn't know you knew and maybe dancing about for no apparent reason.

11 – Safety: São Tomé and Cape Verde are safe countries (One should use the same sensible precautions followed during a trip anywhere).

11 – Instructors: There is no lack of subject matter for illustration projects in this setting. Working under the guidance of the MICA instructors, students will work outdoors on-site in varying locales as they develop a body of work. Students may draw, paint, create a visual journalism project, a fashion illustration project, an illustrated book project, a wooden toy prototype, a sequential art project, a web-documentary project and other illustration or painting projects. Musicians are welcome!

For more images and information, please check the entire blog. Thanks!