It may be surprising to state, in this time of mass indifference, that the capacity of indignation is an almost sacral virtue.

And more profane will sound to the ears of anyone that the creative act, in its most purifying and purified essence, roots itself in an indignation that drinks from the etymological source indignus. In a more prosaic manner: before the indignation that reality sometimes instills in us, before the violence that is shown, the creative man dignifies this reality returning it to us purified, sublimated in the shape that is, by itself, a dignification of the creative person, and of those that see it, because all act of artistic reading implies always an act of appropriation.

It is therefore this poetry of the senses that turns the creative into a being that is conflictual by nature, scattered, heteronimised.

I met Antonio Conceicao Junior during my stay in Macau, between 1995 and 1997. And it is important to say, I knew him away from the social and institutional circuits, where one does get to know a creative.

A Man of Macau, a Portuguese anguished by the ways that Culture is being led, Antonio is an indignant man in the most noble sense of the word.

He tells me that he creates without anguish and in full tranquility. I do not believe him. But I know what he means while not telling me. I see him look for peace in other realms that are not those of mine, a westerner too much branded by his own generational experiences.

I can guess his contradictions. At the bottom it is simple. It resides only in understanding that the dignity that he searches is similar to the elegance of the lines he draws, the elegance of the materials that he uses. Poetically speaking, the search for beauty, between Hellenism and the East are the result of the dignified peace that he presents to others; forcing himself not to show his more then justified indignation.

It was Rousseau who said that he liked to be more a man of paradoxes then a man of prejudices. Well, Antonio is an average citizen. What distinguishes himself is the abnormal coherence with which he lives and suffers reality. It is not enough to be sanctified, but allocates him into the initiatic rituals that makes him one of the many laymen priests.

But let us not forget that Antonio is also Conceicao, from the same root as to conceive: with knowledge, that is to say, with art made of profession and too many proofs given as his vast Resume can testify.

A multi-faceted man, he would have liked to meet Leonardo da Vinci, the artisan and hear him say “one never lies about the Past”. Because the Past is the historic-cultural pot where we dive to think about this time on Earth.

Under the appearance of a tranquility coming from a trained self control, lies the rebellion and creative violence of the Junior that he also is. The youngest, and firstly of himself.

Antonio carries with him in a painful way a Trace of Silk, an Eastern breeze blown by a disconcerting musical fan that expresses itself between whisper and rage, ranging from the almost silence to thunder, in explosions needed for the balancing of the opposites.

All this, however, expressed in a dignified and paradoxal way by the poetic indignation of this Friend of mine.

José Oliveira Barata
Professor of Literature

University of Coimbra