Mafalda Gonçalves, the Socialist Party Candidate for the Presidency of the Sant Cruz Council, believes that creating a Wicker and Craft Museum will help preserve the islands wickerwork traditions. Madeira’s traditions are being lost to a digital age, but by developing a living museum, where visitors of all ages can come into contact and experience some of our traditional heritage, we will allow them to understand that our past needs to be preserved, and who knows how many people will be inspired so that they develop an interest in wickerwork and traditional handicrafts, such as, such as woollen hats and caps, shepherd’s wool coats , wooden spoons and musical instruments, thus preserving the islands folklore and rich musical heritage. The project also aims to showcase local gastronomy and improve cider production.
Born in Camacha, the PS candidate is concerned that wickerwork, a differentiating and characteristic product of that parish, which has had worldwide success, but this sadly is no longer the case. For this, she blames the Regional Government and local authorities (the Chamber and the Parish Council) for abandoning the sector both in terms of supporting local artisans and willow growers, who have all but died out. It seems that now, the few that continue to practice their art, must buy in the raw materials from China, Spain, or Chile.
Mafalda Gonçalves recalls that, in 2003, during the 32nd General Conference of the United Nations on Education, Science and Culture, UNESCO launched a convention to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage, which includes traditions or expressions of lives inherited from our ancestors and transmitted to our descendants, where traditional crafts and industries linked to tradition fit together. However, she regrets that, after 18 years, “we continue to see this UNESCO appeal unfulfilled, namely in the municipality of Santa Cruz, with regard to the work of wickerwork, but also to other traditional industries that had such an impact on the municipality, especially in the parish of Camacha, and that are part of our history and our collective memory.”
Madeira’s livelihood is built on the back of tourism, therefore, we must maintain our traditions and local customs, because without them, we cannot move forward, and remain an attractive tourist destination.
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