OBRAS Portugal

General information

Brief description of organisation

General aim of Foundation OBRAS is to provide all space, service and hospitality necessary for effective working on art and science. The contact with the surrounding landscape and culture may provide additional inspiration.

Foundation OBRAS has its principal seat in Portugal and an auxiliary establishment in Holland (for OBRAS-Holland see elsewhere on this resartis website or on www.obras-art.org).

OBRAS-PORTUGAL is located on top of a hill in a magnificent, two centuries old farm, called “Herdade da Marmeleira”. The Herdade is overlooking a rolling landscape with cork oaks. Its pastures change colors with the seasons. A medieval fortress and timeless tranquility build the scenery.
Due to a careful renovation, the Herdade has preserved its original style.

The Herdade consists of eight double-bed apartments, two cottages, and five artist-studios ranging in size from 5x5m up to 10x30m. One studio has a piano.
A swimming pool is located on a remote spot hundred meter from the house.

NOTE: Due to a cancellation OBRAS-Portugal still has place for a residency from 1 until 29 October 2019. The place includes a private apartment (living room, bathroom and kitchenette) and if needed an extra studio for working.

Organisation founded in


Brief description of residency program

Since the opening in 2004 some 750 artists from 50 countries had a residence up to three months.

Artists and scientists with (emerging) professional standing are eligible for residence. The price for renting an apartment is 100 € per week. Residencies are generally 3 to 10 weeks.

OBRAS is open from April until October. Generally there are 6-8 residents in the same time.

OBRAS co-operates with organizations in Portugal and abroad. If required, OBRAS advises and assists in networking with the art community in Portugal.

Occasionally, OBRAS organizes cultural events, such as exhibitions, concerts and theatrical performances.

An summarized overview for 2018 of the 50 residents and their projects is given below. OBRAS also organized four big exhibitions, a theater performance and 10 smaller cultural events.More details are on www.obras-art.org.


Kevin Tolman (USA) was making collages with snips of Portuguese journals. He had a very productive time, both in terms of quality and quantity. He was inspired by the layering of periods that can be seen on walls, billboards and ruins.

Sarah Tolman (USA) made a beautiful series of prints, partly on journal pages and partly on a background of blue-white tiles. In all a beetle a grasshopper and an ant are figuring, either alone or in combination.

For the first time in her life, Annelisa Leinbach (USA, living in Berlin) got the opportunity to create a wall-sized oil painting of nearly six meters long. She loved it and created an amazing piece. It was part of a series about sexual assault as interpreted through the myth of Apollo and Daphne, where a woman is turned into a tree as she prays to the gods for salvation from her attempted rapist. Annelisa re-imagined scenes from this myth in the modern day.

Helen Butler (UK) creates meditative, abstract paintings, inspired by atmospheric color and light. At OBRAS she made a series that she called “bliss of Silence”. Helen contemplated on the relation between the colours in the sky during the evening twilight and her own internal landscapes and sense of being.

Natalie Magniez (France, currently living in Amsterdam) started a project: “The Space Between”. She explored the space between past, present and future, between the visible and unseen, between figuration and abstractions, between being a daughter and a mother. She contemplated on transiency, transmission and heritage. This resulted in two big colorful paintings, one figurative (portraying herself and her daughter) and one abstract. She exhibited these works in a solo exhibition in Paris in February 2019.

Karen Bernard (USA) did a performance in her swimsuit outside at night while it was exceptionally cold and windy. But it was not just her braveness to resist the conditions, but even more the content that moved the audience. As a dancer facing physical limitations, she made aging the subject. She brought this performance to stage in February 2019 in New York.

Larry Feign (Hongkong) was working on The Pirate Queen: a novel based on a true, 19th century story about Shek Yang, a prostitute from Guangzhou, who was forced to marry a pirate’s captain. After his death she became the undisputed leader of the largest pirate fleet the world has ever seen.

Yvonne Halfens (Holland) had an exhibition of her ceramic work in the fortress of Evoramonte. She made portraits in this exhibition are often forgotten people are often forgotten people, sometimes eroded by time. But also earthy, timeless, ordinary and unique, just like us.

Stella Whalley (UK) was deeply shocked by the Grenfell disaster, a fire in a tower block building (London, June 2017), in which 72 people died. The disaster by itself and the broader concept of a world in which this can happen brought her to the installation “I\'m tired of….”. This installation consisted of seven paper hangings ranging in height from 2 to 5 meters, worked in mixed media on both sides, using painting, printing and stenciling processes totaling 14 images. She used her body to print creatures that seem like falling angels, and added other print layers with grids, textiles and texts. Miguel Noya (Venezuela) added a sound composition to the installation. A video impression is on Youtube.

Scott Wixon (USA created a series of small works using watercolors and pencil: abstract landscapes with a dynamic tension with the interplay of shapes and colors. The work has been exhibited in New York in January 2019.

On 6 October Paul Godwin (USA), Miguel Noya (Venezuela) and Amee Evans (USA) brought a musical theater piece to stage in the patio of INATEL, Évora. Title of the piece was eu sou do tamanho do que vejo, which means " I am the size of what I see". The piece was largely developed during their residency in 2017. Dedicated to Evora’s soldiers of the Great War, the piece is drawn from various poems and fragments by Fernando Pessoa (and his heteronym, the shepherd poet, Alberto Caeiro).

Dany Diaz Mejia (Honduras; currently living and working in San Salvador) is an emerging writer from Honduras. He had a terrible, life changing experience that brought him to writing. A relative was found murdered after sadistic torture and it was his task to retrieve the body from the morgue. Writing proved to help him to overcome his trauma. Dany was directly rewarded for his first short stories. At OBRAS he was working on 13 short stories, all playing in rural life of Honduras.

Wilma Geldof (Holland) came to work on a novel about a boy who confesses that he murdered his mother (even although going the story this fact is gets less clear). A deeper layer of the novel is a contemplation on an unhealthy tight bond between mother and sun.

James Bell (UK) got inspired by the “azulejos”: the blue-white tiles that cover the walls of many ancient houses and churches. He decided to work with few colours (often blue and white) and often in a tiles format. He playfully referred to these azulejos by using their decorative motives, but added prints of veils or male nudes.

Sabine Harrer (Austria, currently living in Germany) and Ida Toft (Denmark, currently living in Canada) came to work with vibropixels: a tiny electronic device that can be programmed to vibrate in various frequencies and intensities. Sabine and Ida are game designers. They explored potential applications of vibropixels and tested them with some playful experiments on the residents. They were triggered to contemplate on identity, individuality and uniqueness. chiselled holes in marble blocks, just big enough to receive a vibropixel, thereby creating an intriguing combination of fragile electronics fixed in a pompous piece of stone. The vibropixel project will become part of her PhD thesis. Sabine had a side activity as well: playing the violin. She granted us several improvisations, partly in combination with other musicians.

White Works was the title for an exhibition with Phil Moody (USA) in the Palácio dos Marqueses da Praia e Montforte, in Estremoz (26 June- 16 September). A beautiful catalogue including the marble history, geology, economy and especially the life of the workers, is available at OBRAS and the artist.
Phil Moody came in 2014 and 2015 for making photo portraits of workers in the marble quarries. He printed eight 2x2m photos. To make them more than documentaries he fragmented each photo into 250 "tiles" and printed them on pages of old geology journals (dating from 1830 until 1950). This written information shines through the image.
Parts of the exhibition will be shown in several locations in South Carolina (USA). This is the result of a price that he won with one of the images in a state-wide art contest.

Victoria Cattoni (Australia) made dreamy abstract oil paintings in subtle rose and purple colors, one being 2x1.5 m, much bigger then she every used.

After his visit to the marble quarries the American painter Paul Gagner knew what to paint. He painted, among others, a series with a background that suggests to be a marble tableau and a text that seem to be chiselled in the marble. The texts were ordinary, humoristic or scabrous. The combination of classical, pompous background with a vulgar text was highly intriguing.

Nico Huijbregts (Holland) was composing an elegy for a male choir and he made hundred (!) improvisations on piano, ranging from 30 seconds to 10 minutes; each day minimum one and each of them totally different: contemplative, wild, easy listening, atonal, … They can be heard on his Facebook site.

Maureen Brennan (USA) photographed with analogue technique the pig farmer on the other side of the valley, the people in a religious procession in Evoramonte and several residents.

Theresa Wilshusen (USA, currently living in Spain) was writing on her PhD in Art and Gender. She focuses on the phenomenon of identity. A case study on an Egyptian filmmaker acting in the modern world and with deep roots to his ancient culture brought her to the conclusion that gender is not black and white but a concept with a broad grey scale. She intends making an art installation with the images.

Gerry van der Linden (Holland) wrote a beautiful series of poems and worked on the story line of a novella on a written letter that is read by people of four generations. Gerry made also a set of small installations with found objects and loosely linked these installations to five poems.

Peter Bremer and Nora van Dam (Holland) came in July as house carers. But they found the atmosphere and inspiration for a productive month: Peter (visual artist) made a series of water color paintings on isolation foam and Nora (writer and actress) worked on an audio-novel in which a child tries to get grip on her life by collecting words.

Becky Buchanan (UK) used acrylic paint on plastic PVC canvas to make an impressive series of ten 1.30x1.30m works and some smaller ones. Starting with no plan and working largely intuitively she made abstract, colorful paintings that seem to express energy and optimism. Although some forms suggest a concrete object or a meaning, for Becky the goal is to find a proper balance in composition and color.
Becky made a beautiful video clip of her Portuguese works and exhibited in Bristol on two prestigious locations.

Rob Monaghan (Ireland) came back to complete his project on the marble quarry lakes. He went in the night at fool moon to make underwater photos. In addition he made a video project together with Phyllis Aikinyi (see below) who danced deep down in an abandoned marble quarry. The work was exhibited in August in Cork, Ireland and will be exhibition again in June 2019 in Évora, Portugal.

Sofia Malone (Sweden) came to study “stony landscapes” and found her subjects in the gigantic hubs of marble waste. She especially enjoyed the many colors in what is assumed to be white marble. She experimented with bringing fragile human figures in this robust, even hostile landscapes.

Dena Afrasaibi lives in Texas, but still strongly feels her Iranian roots. This is the central item of the novel she was working on. And she rewrote a very funny short story about a group of people who decided to become a tree.

Ingrid Simons (Holland) comes every year because Portugal has a crucial impact on her work. She continued working on her half-abstract landscapes. She paints in oil and works with only one or two colors, but she is added more. Several paintings became extremely powerful. In September-December Ingrid presented some of her recent Portuguese paintings in the highly prestigious Noord-Brabants Museum (Den Bosch, Holland).

Azila Reisenberger (Israel) lectures on Cape Town University, South Africa. She is the only female rabbi in South Africa. At OBRAS Azila was working on a novel and on poems and was writing prayers book for women who are in a phase of mourning.
She also prepared prayers for several happy events she will be involved in. Very moving was the prayer she wrote for a fellow resident: Phillis Aikinyi, for her marriage two month later.

Phyllis Akinyi lives in Denmark, but she strongly feels her Kenyan roots. Educated as dancer and specialized in flamenco, she recently realized that this may be a too narrow base for her future. She used her residency to experiment with cross-art and site-specific performance. She had collaborations with Linda Buckmaster (poet) and Ingrid Simons (painter). But especially the project together with Rob Monaghan (video-artist) brought spectacular results. Deep down in an abandoned marble quarry, standing on the edge of a ravine or until her knees in the water, she performed using a mix of flamenco, butoh, yoga and own inventions.

Martin and Annette Goretzki (Germany) came to Portugal for an ongoing photography project on trees: their images focus not only the visual differences of forests in different countries, but also om the similar mood the viewer gets in whatever forest he is looking at. They got what they hoped to find (especially the human proportions of the cork oaks were fascinating for them).

Gaëlle Pelachaud (France) had an exhibition: ÁUREAS (Reflexoes duma Segonha), in the INATEL gallery in Évora. During her residencies in 2016 and 2017 Gaëlle made hundreds of drawings of storks. She showed several of these drawings, partly in the form of artistic installations. Gaëlle Pelachaud creates artist books. For Áureas she found a collaboration with a bookbinder from Evoramonte: João Ruas and Maria Sarmento are presented. Maria Sarmento , a poet from Évora.
Gaëlle also established a collaboration with Matthew Manowski (USA), resident in 2017, who added a sound installation to her exhibition.

Andrea Brasch (Denmark, currently living in Berlin) had an exhibition: Cartas de Amor, also in the INATEL gallery in Évora. Andrea has a specialty in digital storytelling and game design. During previous residencies she worked on a project about an envelope that she got from her grandparents with their instruction to open it only after their decease. It proved to contain letters that her grandparents wrote to each other in the first years of the 2nd world war.
Andrea made a collage of postcards and text fragments, , a video that showed her opening the envelope and a virtual reality piece with which the visitor of the exhibition could experience the impressions that Andrea had when she was a little child looking to the big world from under the kitchen table of her grandparents.

Generally, Robert Franca (USA) makes half abstract paintings and sculptures. He painted ornaments of ancient buildings in Estremoz. During his final presentation he amazed everybody with a series of philosophical statements on art, perception and reality.

Colleen Franca (USA) painted in an impressionistic stile a series of landscapes, townscapes and objects around the house, such as a bunch of puppies or the laundry line. They show her fascination of observing.

Dario Argentesi (Italy) is a highly talented young composer and pianist. He rehearsed for a concert scheduled for July and gave a try-out. Dario was also inspired by what he saw in his surroundings. The titles refer to that: “Evoramonte”, “pre-historic grave” and “cats”. He gave two recitals including a composition that he created inspired by Evoramonte and the surrounding nature.

Kate Sameworth (USA) made more than hundred miniature drawings, covering themes such as birds, mythical animals a (fictive) family tree. Each theme fitted perfectly in a small wooden or tin box. On the back of most were poetic, philosophic or humorist short statements. Due to the size, the boxes and the texts the work was surrealistic, intriguing and very intimate.

Grant Palliser (New Zealand) sculpted a kind of chain the wood and bark of cork oak and called it stop-go. And he painted a lot. Some were inspired by the music of his fellow resident: Dario Argentesi.

Bobby Esra Pertan is a Turkish filmmaker, currently living in Denmark. She was working on a project that describes her family history in Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria, Norway and Greece. In Istanbul her grandparents had a flourishing enterprise in a giant historical building overlooking the Bosporus. The building is now abandoned and is planned to be converted into a boutique hotel. Bobby made impressive videos and photos of traces of the past in that building. It will be presented in an exhibition that tells a forgotten story but also contemplates on gentrification.

Linda Buckmaster (poet; USA) created many poems, partly in collaboration with other residents. She wrote a poem on a painting of Ingrid Simons. At a local poetry festival in the castle of Evoramonte she read a poem while Phyllis Akinyi did an improvisational dance following the rhythm of Linda´s words.
Linda also read an ode on OBRAS, standing in the field with sheep in her background and their bells as background sound.

Theo van Delft (Holland) experimented with 360-degrees photography above a lake in an abandoned marble quarry. The result was a set of images that are surrealistic and abstract, alien and hallucinating and above all very beautiful. Part of the work was exhibited in Amersfoort, Holland.

Marijke Schurink (Holland) made intimate, small installations with found objects and experimented with light-sensitive paper. She used the forms of portraits, Portuguese tiles and necklaces as a base and combined it with natural elements, marble chips and yarn.

Claudia Tomaz (Portugal; living in the UK) worked on her movie: my soul journey, that tells about her search for a home and her life in in several communities. A deeper layer in the movie is her vision and practice on a lifestyle inspired by Buddhism.
And she worked on a book about her experience as a live-in carer. She took care of an elderly woman in the last months of her life. It was very demanding as she nursed and did the household 24/7 for several months. But it was rewarding in the same time, as it focuses on the essentials of a human relations.

Residency program since


Disciplines and media
  • Visual Art
  • New Media
  • Curatorial
  • Film Making
  • Architecture
  • Sculpture
  • Ceramics
  • Dance
  • Theatre
  • Performing Arts
  • Textile Art
  • Music
  • Literature
  • local materials: marble, cork, clay, traditional pigments.
Type of organisation
  • Independent Association/Foundation

Residency conditions

Duration of residencies
  • 3 weeks
  • 1 month
  • between 1 and 3 months
Number of artists resident at one time

between 5 and 10

Companions allowed
  • Children
  • Partners

for childern and partners contact the board.

Expenses paid by artist
  • Travel
  • Housing
  • Supplies
  • Food
Expectations of the artist
  • Presentation
  • Cleaning
Application who/how

Digital Application

Selection procedure

By Committee

Presentation of artists' work

Arranged on a case-by-case basis

Description of residency



  • Internet Connection
  • Dance / Performance Practice Space
  • Musical Instruments
  • Piano, flute, guitar and cajon are availlable. We have basic tools for sculpting in marble and wood.
  • Library
  • Kitchen
  • Woodworking Tools
Number of studios

between 5 and 10

Type and size of studios

Private Studio

  • Private Apartment
  • Private Cabin/House
Working language(s)
  • English
  • German
  • Portugese
  • Dutch
Other activities happening at the space
  • Workshops
  • Presentation
  • Films
  • Exhibitions
  • Site specific events in Centre, surrounding nature, abandoned railway station (10 minutes), abandoned watermill (20 minutes) and marble quarries (10 km)

How to reach

By train

If you arrive in Lisbon: there is a train line from Lisbon to Evora but its frequency is low. A better alternative is the express bus from Lisbon (bus station Sete Rios; 15 €) to Estremoz (or Evora). From there we can pick you up (from Estremoz for free, from Évora for 7,50€. See also www.obras-art.org.

By plane

Best is via Lisbon and then take the express bus to Evora or Estremoz. From Lisbon airport to the bus station (named "Sete Rios") you can go by metro, taxi or shuttle bus.

By car

See www.obras-art.org or email us for a route planner.

Renting a car is generally cheapest by booking in your home country. A rental car can taken in Lisbon airport and Evora.

Nearest airport


Contact information

OBRAS Portugal
N18, Herdade da Marmeleira, Evoramonte
CP2 7100-300 Estremoz


Phone: 00351 268 959 007

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