Cura (female noun): from the Latim cura,-ae: care, treatment, concern, keeper/protector



©Alexandre Marinho

“The female lifeguard comes from a lineage of other female lifeguards, and she belongs, thanks to her hereditary characteristics, to a separate caste, just like the tricksters. Without that natural selective privilege, no woman would take a job that implies spending eight to nine hours per day, over the course of four months, bathing in the sea, up to her chest. That amphibian life, apparently irreconcilable with any woman’s physiological nature, seems to benefit (not harm) the health of those who practice it [...] With their clear and deep eyes - eyes that have, for a long time, mirrored the vastness of sky and sea - these powerful women are in harmony with the ocean and marry it.”
Ramalho Ortigão, Album of Portuguese Customs (1888)

Cure is a audio project about a family narrative that has been passed down from grandmother to grandchild, about memory incarnate through speech. Throughout much of the 20th century, in Lavadores (a village south of Porto), Gracinda cared for and healed her community: as midwive, she was gatekeeper of life and death; as healer, she curated her own treatment repertoire and prayer book; as lifeguard, she rescued everything the sea stubbornly washed away. Cure are Gracinda’s stories, Elvira’s memories, the voices of different women.


A project by Maria Inês Marques

Special Guest Elvira Praça 

Original music Michael Costagliola

Sound editing Pedro Escobar

Featuring Joana Magalhães, Mafalda Lencastre





Gracinda led an extraordinary life. She lived through most of the Portuguese 20th century, cared for her community, had nine children, countless jobs, and stood up to forces most of us know nothing about. Through her stories and words, she left a mark on her granddaughter Elvira's memory. And on my memory too.

Text, narration and editing: Maria Inês Marques; Stories and voice: Elvira Praça; Original music: Michael Costagliola; Sound post-production: Pedro Escobar. 

Work, work, and more work. Sea, sea, and more sea. She loaded ships, was a lifeguard, gathered litter, and rescued people who had drowned. Gracinda was one with the sea from a very early age. Photographs, memories, antagonists, and episodes that could be movie scenes were the fuel for our trip in the second episode of "Cure."

Text, narration and editing: Maria Inês Marques; Stories and voice: Elvira Praça; Original music: Michael Costagliola; Sound post-production: Pedro Escobar; Featuring: Joana Magalhães and Mafalda Lencastre.