Bordalo II's seahorse already inhabits UAlg's Gambelas Campus

The University of Algarve now has a sculptural piece by artist Bordalo II on the Gambelas Campus, which reinterprets the iconic seahorse, an ex-libris of the Ria Formosa, and can be seen by those who visit the Algarve Academy.

The piece, which was inaugurated on April 9, is part of the "Neutral" series, where the artist uses discarded materials as raw material, on a base of reused textured wood. To the assemblage are added layers of paint, some smoky, brushstrokes, drips and splashes until the expressiveness of the represented animal and its natural colors are achieved. The goal is, as usual in the artist's work, to generate representations of the animals almost in such a way as to camouflage what destroys them and create a more realistic image.

In addition to this work, was also inaugurated the seahorse of the Municipality of Faro, built in the water tank of the Camping Park of Praia de Faro, included in the series "Big Trash Animals", which aims to draw attention to pollution through works created from garbage collected in the streets. These two large-scale pieces, the result of a partnership between Faro City Hall and the University of the Algarve, aim to raise awareness of the importance of preserving a marine species whose habitat is very endangered.

According to Jorge Palma, researcher responsible for the HIPPOSAVE project, "the largest community of seahorses in Europe lives in the Ria Formosa". HIPPOSAVE is an action plan for its recovery and conservation, based on research developed by the Hydroecology and Fisheries Biology Group of the Center for Marine Sciences (CCMAR) of the University of the Algarve. The aim is to assess the current state of seahorse populations, create sanctuary areas and protection zones, implement artificial structures as a measure to enrich degraded habitats and also produce seahorses in captivity for repopulation in protected areas.  These marine animals are subject to various threats, from illegal harvesting for export to the Asian market, accidental fishing, climate change, and habitat degradation. These factors have contributed to the fact that the seahorse population has declined dramatically, hence the need to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the species.

Besides the importance of the research developed at UAlg in the scope of HIPPOSAVE, for Rector Paulo Águas "it's not enough just to investigate, we have to know how to communicate and it's through these actions that we manage to raise awareness among the general public, including our students".

Artur Bordalo, artistic name Bordalo II, was born in 1987 and saw in his grandfather, the painter Real Bordalo, his great source of inspiration to become a plastic artist or "artivist" as he defines himself. He creates and recreates from our garbage. The two sea horses that can now be seen in Faro are his most recent creation.