Silas Cerqueira

Activist Type

Silas Cerqueira was a Portuguese university professor who staunchly advocated for peace, solidarity and nuclear disarmament for over 50 years. While studying in the United States, Silas became a vocal opponent of racial discrimination and the Korean War. Upon returning to Portugal, Silas devoted himself to the Portuguese peace movement and worked tirelessly to oppose the fascist regime repressing the people. He was notably arrested for placing flowers on a war statue in the name of peace. From that point forward Cerqueira, focused on creating solidarity among international neighbors taking on issues of oppression across Africa, particularly apartheid as well as helping to form an organization supporting Palestinian rights. Shortly before his passing in 2016, Cerqueira’s work was honored by the Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation, an organization of which Silas was a long-sitting board member.

Artwork by
Kelsy Di Giovanni

This illustration of Silas Cerqueira is meant to imitate the style of azulejo tiles famously seen throughout Portugal, mostly notably in Cerqueira’s birthplace of Porto. Azulejos have continued to increase in popularity since first utilized in the 13th century, adorning everything from the Railway/Metro stations to public buildings and street signs. The style of the azulejo tile is appropriate to represent Silas Cerqueira as they are used to pass on significant historical figures and events through generations. Because they often adorn public places, azulejos represent “art for everyone”– a sentiment coinciding with Cerqueira’s fight for equality. Flowers interlace the filagree to represent an event in which Cerqueira placed a wreath of flowers on a war memorial, but was subsequently arrested.


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