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 Azores-Journal 14 by Inge Perreault  e-mail Inge at


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The Azorean island that welcomes you with an open heart: Over the past year something mysterious has been happening all over this beautiful island, a gem of eco-tourism that will surprise visitors and most likely put a smile on their faces as well as create some bewilderment. In the most unlikely places they will see paintings of hearts on a flower stem in such a great variety, no two alike, signed by the artist Yves Decoster. They beautify and give a special welcome on old walls, the sides of homes, billboards and the most unlikely surfaces. Now not only is Sao Miguel a magnificently green jewel, the largest of the Azorean islands with stunning landscapes and a profusion of flowers, kindly helpful people and the most laid-back atmosphere imaginable. No it is likewise the home of Caldeiras, blue clean ocean, fabulous black sand beaches and high mountains dotted with old and quaint small villages, beautiful ancient Baroque churches and a rich history, thankfully not overrun by tourism. People find their way here to explore with knapsacks hiking the well-marked trails and enjoy majestic vistas from the numerous miradouros in the fresh air due to the large distances from any mainland.

So what is the story behind the mysterious paintings of heart-flowers in all colors and designs that add an artistic charm and no doubt a smile as well as a certain warm feeling in the area of the visitor’s heart?

Well since I know the originator and artist, two heart-flowers beautify our own balconies and since there is a valuable lesson to be learned, allow me to share with you the events that precipitated this wondrous development.

Yves and his partner Roland have lived on Sao Miguel for 23 years, two artists from Belgium who both attended the Academy of Fine Art in Antwerp (Belgium), and until two years ago they operated what in our opinion was THE best restaurant, an ambience of a very special charm, classical music softly playing in the back-ground, a fire-place crackling during rainy season and food so delectable that we became regular customers on special occasions.Difficult to find on the back roads of Livramento but the “in-spot” where everyone who was anyone sooner or later ended-up dining and word of mouth is the best advertisement, in short, a place where you could relax totally and feel at home.

Then one day out of the clear blue, for so far unexplained reasons and questionable charges, the restaurant was closed down not without great displeasure of many customers generating newspaper articles and even a radio show discussing the matter. Remember, this is a small island with more cows than people (150,000 people versus 300,000 vacas), thus an event like this did not go unnoticed.

After the dust had settled and both of our friends Yves and Roland recovered their bearing and good humor, Yves began painting the by now famous heart-flowers in quite obvious locations at first, replacing anger and disappointment with love which, as we all know, conquers all. More and more people saw them, inquired if they as well could embellish their home with one of the by now famous flowers with the heart blossom and love grew exponentially, so that soon there will be 100 of them all over the island and I would bet my bottom Euro that there are going to be tourists who will make it their challenge to find them all.

The exquisite nature and the distinct character of each painting stand out. Yves is such a great artist with a talent for innovation and intuition of what fits where and which colors compliment the background of his art-work; personally I marvel how he thinks of some of the names and color combinations as well as the placement, even around the corner of the entrance of a home in Ponta Delgada.

His largest work is displayed on the wall next to the main Government Building and called “Anima,” showing a tree with heart-shaped blossoms. Every nice day he is out there creating more joy and spreading the seeds of love. Come and see for yourself because this is something you surely will NOT find on other islands sporting huge hotels and crowded beaches, discos and entertainment galore. Find your very own serenity and be welcomed by an open heart representing the spirit of the Azores inspired here and executed by none other than a Belgian artist and his partner who are repaying evil with love.

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