ABOUT Vasco Pires: The artist, Vasco R. A. Pires, is the author of "A Fraction of Me: Prose and Poetry for the New Century." He is an artist, teacher and humanitarian.
Through his writings and other artistic expressions, he shares what brings great satisfaction and hope in his life.
MEET Vasco R. A. Pires
CaboVerdeOnline.com: When and why did you start writing?
Vasco Pires: I have been writing seriously for the past seven years, and off and on since the 1960s. I started working on my first book in 1995. In 1996 I began attending The William Joiner Writer's Workshop at the University of Massachusetts - Boston. My work was well received and I was encouraged to continue developing my writing. I have always been a peace and civil rights activist. In the late 60's I would incorporate verses in my drawings or sculptures to express concepts regarding our struggle as people of color. My first collection, A Fraction Of Me: Prose and Poetry for the New Century, published in February 2003, is a compilation of some of those expressions. Chapter One, "America" expresses my thoughts on civil rights issues from the 60's to the present. Chapter Two, "Cabo Verde" expresses my thoughts on my Cabo-verdean heritage.
CVOL: You're a writer and visual artist. Do you find it challenging to switch from writing to visual art and vice versa?
VP: As an artist, I make no distinction between expressing myself visually or verbally. Often oral phrases have been an inspiration to develop the idea in visual form.
CVOL: Would you say that the majority of readers are only familiar with writers from the country they were born and raised in or do you find that readers seek out work from various parts of the world? Why do you think this is?
VP: I feel that readers have access to more information via the Internet and have an interest in reading information that reflects a global view on many subjects.
CVOL: Does your visual art tell a story? If so, what story does your art tell?
VP: Yes. My goal in my art, as well as my writings, is to create a dialogue between people that celebrate our diversity as human beings. The etching titled "Soul & Spirit" is based on a depiction of Yoruba divining board. On the board, I have drawn portraits of people and textured the Afro style hairdo with tiny circles and words intertwined that represented various slogans and ideas of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's and 70's. The piece was created in 1976 and is the title illustration of Chapter One in my book.
CVOL: Vasco, have you thought about writing a novel? What do you imagine the story would be about?
VP: I think about writing a novel or memoir constantly. I have some ideas. The chapter "Memories" in "A Fraction of Me" is sort of a beginning to that process. I have thought about centering a story, on a little boy's imaginative journeys into the future, while he plays in the dirt under his grandfather's porch.
CVOL: Tell us about the Capeverdean Creole Institute.
VP: The Cabo-verdean Creole Institute, Inc. was formed in November 1996 to promote the Cabo-verdean language. To actively support the recognition of Cabo-verdean Creole as an official language in The Republic of Cape Verde, the implementation of a standardized orthography (ALUPEC) and curriculum development in bilingual programs as well as a resource of Capeverdean culture in general.
CVOL: Did you found the organization? If not, what is your relationship to the organization?
VP: No. I was not one of the original founders, but I have been a member and supporter since it was founded in 1996. I am committed to using the new form of the language in all my writings on the subject of Kabu Verdi (this is how it is spelled in the new Kabuverdian language). As you may know, the Republic of Kabu Verdi is located about 350 miles off the West coast of Africa.
CVOL: Are you working on new project? If so, please tell us about the project you're working on and when we can expect to see it on the market.
VP: I am working on a new book titled "Kabu Verdi, Soul & Spirit." The book is an expansion of the Cabo Verde Chapter in "A Fraction of Me." It expresses my feelings and thoughts of Kabuverdian culture from an American born perspective, with a foreword written by Mr. Salah Matteos. I am also working on a 13-part video documentary called A Fraction of Me: Kabu Verdi Soul & Spirit. The video is a showcase of events and interviews that promote an appreciation of Americans of African decent with an emphasis on the culture of the Kabuverdian Diaspora. Also, I am working on an Audio version of my current book. At this point, the new work is still in development. There is no release date yet.
CVOL: Where can our subscribers find your work on and offline?
VP: Information on my work can be found at my website - afractionofme.com or via a Google search for Vasco R. A. Pires. A fraction of Me is available online at CaboVerdeOnline.com.
CVOL: Who are some of your favorite writers and what is it about their work you most appreciate?
VP: Langston Hughes - I read his work only recently and have found that we have a lot in common. Nikki Giovanni, because she was cutting edge and revolutionary. Katherine Lee Bates, famous for writing "America the Beautiful" but I really like her antiwar poems written at the beginning of W.W.I. She was born in the town where I now live. And Baltazar Lopes, Eugenio Tavares – Cabo-verdean poets who have influenced my Cabo-verdean work.
CVOL: What last words of encouragement or advice would you like to leave with readers of CaboVerdeOnline.com?
VP: If you are an artist, focus on using your gift to uplift people and promote hope. Expressing the negative without its counterpart is not telling the whole truth. For those who have not discovered their artistic side yet, please support those who have opened up their lives to share their visions with you.