“This Building Belongs to the People”: Cape Verde’s New Centre for Art, Crafts and Design


National Centre for Art, Crafts and Design — CNAD in Mindelo, Cape Verde. Image © Estúdio Peso/ JG

There are two ways to get to Cape Verde, by sea or sky. Either way, we are surprised by the landscape of immense rocky masses sprouting from the Atlantic’s navel before setting foot on land. Unpopulated until the middle of the 15th century, the volcanic archipelago is made up of ten islands, nine of which are currently inhabited, with unique characteristics in each one of them — some more touristy, like Sal, others more rural, like Santo Antão — and a version of Kriolu Kabuverdianu, which is not the official language (Portuguese occupies this place), but which is by far the most widely spoken.

São Vicente is the second most populous island in the country and makes up the northern insular group called Sotavento, along with Santo Antão, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal and Boa Vista. Its largest city, Mindelo, has a port vocation and has historically been the point of departure and arrival for people and goods. Marked by traffic, the city is a place of passage and intense cultural exchanges. It is also home to the first museum built in the country, the National Centre for Art, Crafts and Design — CNAD.

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