Héctor Zamora presents his new work “Chimera” (2023), which takes place in the public spaces of Lisbon and Faro. The action consists of a group of street imigrants vendors selling balloons, scattered in different squares and gardens in both cities. The concept evokes the multitude of street vendors who walk the streets of Mexico with clusters of balloons floating over their heads like a cloud of brilliant colours. Located along the main avenues and intersections of the city, as well as in its peripheral areas, the sellers appear as mirages where the urban fabric meets the desert. Filled with helium, the balloons in the action take the form of different words that conjure the idea of “chimera”: an unrealizable dream or illusion fabricated by the mind. 

“Chimera” makes the invisible visible, paying tribute to the informal economies on which Mexican society largely rests, whose models are replicated by the migrant communities in the Northern countries. In this context, hundreds of thousands of individuals are forced to exercise their adaptive capability to find solutions that allow them to survive and support their families despite adverse social, political, economic, and climatic conditions.

Inviting us to rethink our relationship to a landscape that does not have the same meaning for all the inhabitants of this territory, this work highlights a segment of the population whose labour force constitutes a pillar of the Portuguese economy, a population that the media and political groups consistently strive to keep invisible. In turn, the concept of the balloons forces us to recognise – with a touch of irony – the nuances of the migratory flows in search of a better future.

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