The beginning of the Bonecreira Art dates back to the second half of the 19th century, when the first artisans workshops for the production of these small clay figures were opened in the city of Lagoa, in São Miguel, Azores. Initially serving as an activity to reinforce the family income or as a hobby, this craftshift is, nowadays, a form of cultural expression valued and appreciated by local artisans and art lovers. The small clay figures are built using molds and later perfected by hand. Once baked, they are hand painted to enhance details such as clothes, facial expressions and accessories. The motifs are traditionally human figures, folklore characters, working animals, or everyday scenes.
Having as its creative axis the development of a key visual capable of communicating the festival and the Azorean territory, Tremor 2024's identity comes even closer to local culture, proposing to reinterpret the local Bonecreira Art and its Nativity Scenes—the so called Presépios de Lapinha. Involving a series of local artisans and contemporary artists, the festival will not only use the existing collection of traditional craft figures as well as it will create a series of new characters and environments—elements that metaphorically represent the public of Tremor and the contemporary Azores, opening a dialogue between the traditional and the modern, the normal and the strange. The figures will be associated with artists, artistic residencies, projects and stages at Tremor, thus creating a gallery of puppet art through the presentation of all the elements that are part of the festival's programme.
The first Nativity Scene we present had the participation of artisan João Arruda (clay dolls), illustrator Gonçalo Duarte (painting) and sculptor Pascal Ferreira (nativity scene). The festival's involvement with Bonecreira Art will also promote collaborative residencies and an exhibition. Further details will be revealed soon.