Sal: a graphic novel illustrated by Luís Buchinho

Fashion and solidarity can successfully go hand in hand. Such is the case of the Cecília Zino Foundation (FCZ) initiative that has just published, in partnership with Luís Buchinho, the “Sal” graphic novel with illustrations by the creator and original script by João Andrade. A survival tale about teenagers and children at risk. The book will be available from the 30th of November in selected bookshops, and a percentage of the sale of each book will revert in favour of the construction of a new shelter home in Funchal.

“Sal is fourteen years old and lives with her parents on Madeira Island. The neglecting family environment forces the court to move her to a temporary foster home. In this new home, Sal begins a long and painful process of personal growth”. This is the starting point of the book. In hardback format, “Sal” is a 200-page graphic novel, published by the Cecilia Zino Foundation. It addresses the life story of a fictional character, Sal – a young girl at risk, who goes through a foster care experience. With text by João Andrade and illustrations by Luís Buchinho, “Sal” narrates a situation very close to the activity of the Foundation, which works daily with young people in foster care, victims of violence or danger.

“FCZ – based on Madeira Island and founded in 1961 – decided to edit this graphic novel to shed light on the importance of intervention teams and how their work is vital for the safety of young people in risk situations. In 2018, the Centre for Human Development was created in the heart of Funchal to expand the action of the Cecilia Zino Foundation, a space where social intervention and projects of cultural scope co-habit” says the Foundation in a statement.

About the authors

João Andrade, the author of the text, based the fictional script on testimonies collected throughout his career in several institutions supporting young people at risk. These are stories and situations that take place in shelters that mirror the daily life of these institutions.

For Luís Buchinho, the project came about from an invitation from the Foundation, as part of his artistic activity. If fashion design is his profession, comics is a childhood passion, which was given a new breath thanks to the time available during the pandemic.  

“After 30 years of drawing fashion sketches almost with my eyes closed, what can you do about the challenges posed by a graphic story? The expressions, the landscapes, the cars, the interaction between figures, etc.? I quickly realized that I would have to go back to school and do massive research on reference images (thanks Internet!) to be able to develop this work. I revisited my old books, namely those by Enid Blyton, illustrated by the masterly Stuart Tresilian, who is still today one of my favourite illustrators”. 

“I then began several learning processes in drawing, from YouTube tutorials to online classes, (at the Porto Drawing Club), in which I addressed the themes where I felt weaker. I also started to acquire various graphic novels that enabled me to rediscover my youthful enthusiasm for the magic of handling a book. The appreciation of the drawings, the smell, the discovery of the narrative… and also the realization that I had yet a lot to learn and practice”. 

“The initial process in fashion was similar – I recall getting annoyed in the first collections with the fact that the clothes didn’t get the same finishes as those of the designers I admired: when I travelled, I would go to the shops and see the pieces inside out. I have never believed in a good idea poorly accomplished – that only makes it worse. And I did not want that for my first job. It was three years of a lot of emotion and effort. Something that I knew had to happen”. 

More about the Foundation

The Cecília Zino Foundation was established in 1961 as a Private Institution of Social Solidarity. From the will of Cecilia Zino arose a children’s hospital, which, after the opening of the Central Hospital of Funchal, was transformed into a residential home for young people, fulfilling this role to date.

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