Grupo do Risco
A not-for-profit organization
The Grupo do Risco is a not-for-profit organization of professional and amateur artists (illustrators, designers, jewelers, sculpturers, photographers) that aims to promote public awareness of environmental values through the use of a variety of artistic forms that includes drawing and painting, usually on a sketch book, but also photography and video.
The Grupo do Risco organizes visits to protected areas and other environments with a conservation interest, often sponsored by local authorities and cultural organizations. Each visit, lasting for 1 to 2 weeks, takes the form of an artistic residency during which group members individually (and some times collectively) interpret the natural and human environment using their specific medium. The results of the residencies are then used to create exhibitions and publish books on those areas.
All the creative work of the Grupo do Risco members is either pro bono or volunteer.
The name "Grupo do Risco" is homage to the Casa do Risco do Real Museo e Jardim Botânico da Ajuda, the first Portuguese institution devoted to the artistic representation of the natural world and where the "riscadores" (draftsmen) of the Portuguese explorations to South America and Africa during the 18th century were trained. The challenges that those explorers faced were to discover and to report a natural world totally new for the European society of the time, using drawing and colour as registration techniques. Presently, most of these pristine and wild "new worlds" have been explored but, ironically, they seem some times as remote as in the 18th century, not because they are far away, but because their geographic range has shrank due to the human domination of Earth's ecosystems.
The challenge that the Grupo do Risco takes is not one of reporting on a new world, but one of showing a reality rarer every day, using the modern techniques of registration and communication. We hope that our work may contribute to the knowledge and valuing of these natural worlds, and that it may help consolidate a public opinion favourable to their protection.