Model of Jamaika

Beginning in the mid-1980s, large numbers of people from Portugal’s newly independent African colonies migrated to Bairro de Vale de Chícharos, more commonly known as “Bairro da Jamaika”, on the outskirts of Lisbon. Seeking safety and economic stability, these arrivals – from Angola, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe and other African nations, alongside a small population of Roma – appropriated and inhabited the area to create a thriving, albeit unauthorised, community.

‘Model of Jamaika’ presents a 1:10 scale, walk-in model of the neighbourhood’s recently demolished Bloco 10. The installation narrates some of the residents’ ongoing disputes with private landowners and local authorities, while presenting aspects of their everyday lives and still-unfolding future.

The model is an “anchor” generating further conversation around the neighbourhood. It is supplemented with a public programme of debates, performances and screenings addressing racism, marginalised art and the question of policies on resettlement processes.