The institute


The collection of the National Centre for Art, Crafts and Design (CNAD) and its history bear witness to the path taken and the results achieved by the now extinct National Crafts Centre (CNA) since the 1990s.

Having been the first cultural institution created in Cape Verde after its independence, the CNA served as the basis for the construction of the craftsmanship’s network and of a visual and aesthetic identity in Cape Verde, characteristics that still play a fundamental role in leveraging the future and in the creation of new national languages.

Located in the heart of Mindelo, CNAD operates in one of the oldest buildings in the city, initially known as Casa Senador Vera Cruz [House of Senator Vera Cruz], a space that is also part of the cultural and social history of the life of Mindelo’s people. It served as a residence, high school, military headquarters, recreative club, radio station and Museum of Traditional Art before hosting the CNA project – originally Cooperative Resistência (Resistance Cooperative), created in 1976 –, an initiative born from the restlessness of a group of artists and teachers dedicated to experimentation, training, research and promotion of Cape Verdean craftsmanship, with a focus on the practice of panaria. In 1977, this collective, composed by Manuel Figueira, Luísa Queirós and Bela Duarte, among others, dared to create a National Crafts Centre in Cape Verde. In its essence was the historical and cultural preservation and the multiplication of knowledge through the know-how of the country’s Master artisans, such as Nhô Griga and Nhô Damásio. Consequently, the CNA became the launch pad for countless new craftspeople and artists, as well as a cradle for the exploration of new languages and aesthetic approaches.

Casa Senador Vera Cruz

To different generations,
complementary visions.

For Manuel Figueira, former director and co-founder of the CNA, CNAD is the continuity of the initial vision, but with the great “boldness” of aiming even further, with its eyes always looking towards the future. The current director, Irlando Ferreira, stresses that the “work that the Centre has been developing manifests Cape Verdean contemporaneity”.

In order to fulfil its aspiration of being a platform for sustainable cultural development and promotion with national and international recognition, in 2019 CNAD started the rehabilitation of the century-old Casa Senador Vera Cruz and the construction of a new cultural facility, designed from scratch by Ramos Castellano Arquitectos. The architecture of this new building, which rises above the city of Mindelo, is defined by its vibrant metal facade. Harmoniously composed of colourful drumheads, it represents the social, cultural and symbolic context that the metallic barrels bring to the islands, loaded with goods and stories of a vast Cape Verdean diaspora spread worldwide.
The plasticity and poetics of the building go even further: in the diversified palette of colours that compose it, lies an encoded musical score by the musician and composer Vasco Martins.
The remaining architectural and construction solutions adopted in this building complex, in addition to providing body, colour and texture, synthesise and accompany the expansive and universal thinking of CNAD.

Between the old and the contemporary, between Casa Senador Vera Cruz and this new architectural project, a central patio connects and puts the two buildings in dialogue.
It is in this space, which links tradition and innovation, that CNAD operates, a unique cultural facility in the Cape Verdean context, endowed with permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, a library and research centre, a training centre, collection and artistic residencies spaces, a shop, a café and a multipurpose courtyard. This is the setting for an aggregative, creative, dynamic and forward-looking environment that intends to continue writing the history of Cape Verde’s artistic and cultural wealth.

CNA Founders


The mission of the National Centre for Art, Crafts and Design (CNAD) is to stimulate, enhance and foster the development of various artistic languages, with particular emphasis on national crafts and design in permanent dialogue with the extensive field of the visual arts.
The constitutive thinking of CNAD is based on two fundamental pillars: integrated and long-term vision and action; and the projects’ sustainability, taking into consideration Cape Verde’s insular and archipelagic nature in relation to the world.

CNAD’s main objectives are: to develop and enhance craftsmanship and design, historical and cultural heritage, investing in their preservation, research, training, production and promotion; to forge new languages, valuing innovation, quality and aesthetic sense; to foster art practices and to provide, through a programme of excellence and quality, a wide range of initiatives, including long-term and temporary exhibitions; training and participatory learning endeavours and parallel activities across the different artistic languages.

CNAD - Centro Nacional de Arte, Artesanato e Design

Meridiano dos ofícios



The National Centre for Art, Crafts and Design (CNAD) aims to be a platform for sustainable cultural development and promotion, with national and international recognition, achieved through work of excellence, quality and rigour.

CNAD - Centro Nacional de Arte, Artesanato e Design

Kutxi – Residência Criativa




Irlando Ferreira

Danilsa Medina

Elisângela Monteiro

Karine Patrício

Carla Tavares

Vânia Andrade

Martina Duarte

Amílcar Rodrigues

Anilton Duarte

ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT. Ramos Castellano Arquitectos
INTERIOR DESIGN – BUILDING A. ACBD studio – Ana Cunha & Gonçalo Santana
INTERIOR DESIGN – BUILDING B. Ramos Castellano Arquitectos
BRANDING, VISUAL IDENTITY & WEB. ACBD studio – Ana Cunha & Gonçalo Santana
MEDIA AND PRESS OFFICE. this is ground control

FINANCIER’S REPRESENTATIVE. Ministry of Infrastructures, Land Planning and Housing / Infrastructures of Cabo Verde
FUNDING. Government of Cabo Verde, Ministry of Tourism and Transport of Cabo Verde, Social Sustainability Fund for Tourism of Cabo Verde


Master in Management and Cultural Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from the Lisbon School of Theatre and Cinema, in Portugal, he was part of INOV-Art – International Internship Program for Young People (USA), in the cultural and artistic domain. Since 2015, he is the Director of the National Centre for Art, Crafts and Design (CNAD), a Cape Verdean public institute, which integrates art galleriesprojects, such as a Museum, a rResearch centreCenter and a lLibrary, an Experimental Laboratory of Art, Crafts and Design and a broad project to develop the cultural and creative sector in Cabope Verde. For more thanOver ten years, he worked with The Antaeus Company, in – Los Angeles, USA; and Teatro Nacional D. Maria IID. Maria II National Theatre, Trindade Theatre and United Artists, in Lisbon, Portugal.

He was distinguished by Apollo Magazine, a London based internationaln English visual arts magazine, as one of the most influential thinkers in Africa under 40 years of age, in 2020. He participated in the Manifesto “Culture for the Future”, an initiative of the European Union that took place in Brussels, in 2019, and at the “Cabope Verde Ambition 2030 International Forum”, promoted by the RepublicState of Cabo Verde, 2020.

As a professor, Irlando has collaborated with ISCEE university. His as a teacher. rResearch interests are: Creative Economies and Cultural Management, being the.a Author of the book, “Cabope Verde, Creative Economies, What Benefits for the Country? – The case of, Atlantic Music Expo Cabo Verde”.

( Diretor CNAD )