Although the arts are generally supported by the people of São Tomé and Príncipe, there isn’t much financial support from the government available for it. Folk scenes are a common theme for many artists from these islands. José de Almada Negreiros was born in São Tomé and had a hand in many of the arts. Not only was he a talented artist (mainly in painting, stained glass and azulejo, mosaic, tapestry, murals, engraving, and caricature), he was also a gifted writer and even created ballet choreographies.
Another prominent painter from São Tomé was Pascoal Viegas Vilhete (also known as Canarim). He often painted the land around him, capturing scenes that depicted life as it was happening, showing the people in motion. Sometimes revered as one of the greater national painters, his style was more 2D rather than 3D, anamorphic I suppose.
There are a number of different kinds of handicrafts produced on the islands. Some of these trace back many centuries and have their roots from various areas of mainland Africa. Most of them are created using materials that are readily available on the islands, such as different woods, shells, palms, and reeds. Wood carving and jewelry making are common handicrafts that support the local shops and tourist mementos.
One of the most prolific writers from São Tomé and Príncipe is Francisco José Tenreiro. By trade, he was a geographer and teacher, but he was also a poet. He worked in Cape Verde where he started a journal publishing articles on nationalism and anti-colonialism. Tenreiro is thought of as one of the most influential writers in the nation. In fact, they named a literary prize and special wings of the National Library after him.
Up next: music and dance