‘They Also Faced The Sea’ Refreshed in Provincetown

Photo Credit: Go Fund Me

Photo Credit: Ewa Nogiec/gofundme.com

PROVINCETOWN – The five large-scale photographs of Provincetown’s Portuguese matriarchs have been reprinted and reinstalled at Fisherman’s Wharf.

The installation, “They Also Faced The Sea,” was originally printed over a decade ago to honor Provincetown’s fishing and Portuguese heritage.

“Our fishing heritage is so important to us, and part of that heritage involves the the women of Provincetown and the traditional Portuguese matriarchy. It’s a wonderful example of the strong women who held Provincetown together while their husbands were at sea,” said Tom Donegan, chairman of the Provincetown Board of Selectmen.

The photographs of Bea Cabral, Mary Jason, Frances Raymond, Almeda Segura, and Eva Silva were printed in 2003. The images became faded over the years, leading to an effort to re-print the photographs.

The project was spearheaded by resident Jennifer Cabral and the community group Provincetown 365, which is working to promote a year-round community in town. Cabral and project organizers started a GoFundMe page, raising over $12,000 dollars for the re-installation, exceeding the $10,000 fundraising goal.

“I was watching them year after year get lighter and lighter and fade away and realizing they were becoming a symbol of a community that was fading from Provincetown, and they were supposed to be a symbol of the strength of the community,” said Cabral.

She said Provincetown has always been a community in transition.

“We’ve had an influx of artists, we’ve had an influx of Portuguese. We’ve had an influx of the gay community. We seem to always be at a crossroads where there are different communities coming together,” she said.

The effort to raise money to pay for the re-prints captured the attention of many in the Outer Cape town.

“The community recognized the need without coming to town hall. They actually raised the money on their own. They arranged for the re-printing and installation and we’re very excited about the commemoration. It will be a great day for Provincetown,” said Donegan.

An unveiling ceremony will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at MacMillan Pier, across from Fisherman’s Wharf.

Cabral said the Portuguese community in Provincetown had long been the foundation of the year-round economy.

“They created the small town that cared for each other and nurtured each other and kept the economy going, kept the families going,” she said.

The negatives of the original photographs, taken by photographer Norma Holt, were held by the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum. The negatives were transferred to a digital format, before being enlarged for the re-installation.

“These are iconic images of Provincetown and are beloved by the community and the hundreds of thousands of visitors we see every year,” said museum executive director John McDonagh.

“The whaling, fishing, Portuguese, all of that heritage is something we hold dear at the museum and I know the community holds it dear. Our job really is to preserve it,” he said.


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