Dentu Sol | 2019 | Yuran Henrique (courtesy of the artist)
30 nov 2019 | Fátima da Cruz Rodrigues
Lilian Thuram’s visit to Portugal between the 26th and 28th of November could not come at a more opportune moment. After a high profile career as a footballer, Thuram has thrown himself into anti-racist education through his Foundation. Their approach is captured by the proposition that “no-one is born racist, they become racist”.
Romaria | 2017 | Yuran Henrique ( courtesy of the artist )
23 nov 2019 | António Sousa Ribeiro
Postmemory and Resentment
The concept of postmemory can only be correctly put under perspective in the framework of a theory of emotions. When Marianne Hirsch, in her already classic definition, stresses that there is postmemory where certain memories were passed out to a second generation “so deeply as to seem to constitute memories in their own right”, such a depth can only signify the inscription of those memories at the emotional level.
s/t (Rádio), from series Escuta os Bárbaros em Primeiro Lugar, Planalto Norte, Santo Antão | 2016 | Diogo Bento (courtesy of the artist)
16 nov 2019 | Roberto Vecchi
Rituals of a fractured memory
In Avishai Margalit’s The Ethics of Memory, one of the classics of memory studies, the author notes that in memory, morality is often forgotten. We need to reflect, therefore, on the individual and collective ethics of the use of memory. This necessity emerges within ongoing conflicts over memory that emerge when the use of the past does not weave communal threads. It emerges when, in the dialectic of salvation and forgetting – the politics of loss – lived traumas are no longer the basis of an inclusive, holistic image of history.
The Missing Face | Paulo Faria´s private archive (courtesy of Paulo Faria)
9 nov 2019 | Felipe Cammaert
Us, them, why? (by way of Paulo Faria)
In a recent piece in the newspaper Público, “O rosto que falta” [The Missing Face], Paulo Faria wrote about a photograph from the colonial war that an ensign showed him during an interview. The photo, cutting the middle of the double-page spread of the article, shows Portuguese soldiers in Guinea holding the body of an African man they have killed. It is a highly theatrical tableau. The body is in the foreground, and out of focus. The image, like all war photographs, is charged with the violence of the context in which it was produced.
Shoes | 1994 | Teresa Dias Coelho (courtesy of the artist)
2 nov 2019 | António Pinto Ribeiro
Museums: the ultimate contact zones
On the 24th of August 2007, ICOM, the International Council of Museums, created a definition of the museum as its ‘mission’ and ‘backbone’. We can begin there. “A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment”.
Lilian Thuram | Photo Conseil de l’Europe
26 out 2019 | Fernanda Vilar
Why is racism still a European question?
Lilian Thuram, a French world-cup winning footballer in 1998, has recently returned to the centre of media attention in Europe. He spoke out in defence of a black footballer who was racially abused by football fans. Thuram had the courage to declare straightforwardly that white people believe themselves to be superior and that racism is a centuries-old construction, and therefore very difficult to change.
Ticket for Djamal and GNR´s concert | 1997 | Coliseu do Porto
19 out 2019 | Miguel Cardina
The origins of rap in Portugal: Margins and centre, accommodation and emancipation
A recent controversy revolving around the musician Valete has launched a debate about the place of women in rap and hip-hop culture, and the persistence of deep-rooted misogyny among its protagonists. In one of his recent works, the rapper tells the story of a man who finds his wife with his best friend and unleashes a chauvinistic rage laced with insults, imagining shoving a shotgun down his partner’s throat.
Sketchbook, Views from the Aljube, Lisbon (pencil, ink and watercolor drawings) | 2019 | Sharon Lubkemann Allen (courtesy of the artist)
12 out 2019 | Sharon Lubkemann Allen
New navigators of Portuguese Cultural Memory
I have long been drawn to old maps retracing the routes of Portuguese navigation, as works of art exquisitely drawn on hand stretched parchment or paper, as historical artifacts crossed by Portolan lines that reflect innovation and limits of navigational understanding, as articles that have aged, been archived, retrieved, reframed in continually revisionary cultural contexts.
Guiné-Bissau: Da Memória ao Futuro | 2019 | Garden Films / CES-UC (courtesy of the director)
5 out 2019 | Bruno Sena Martins
“Guinea-Bissau: From Memory to the Future”
On the 24th of September 2019, on the 46th anniversary of the independence of Guinea-Bissau, the documentary Guinea-Bissau: From Memory to the Future, directed by Diana Andringa, premiered on RTP Africa. The screenplay was written with Miguel Cardina, and the film was produced by Garden Films and the Centre for Social Studies (CES) at the University of Coimbra. The film was already familiar to me. It is the result of the work of researchers at the CES in Coimbra working on the project CROME – Crossed Memories, Politics of Silence. I also made a modest contribution as one of the interviewees, filmed when I took part in the Colloquium “Memórias e Legados das Lutas de Libertação” [Memories and Legacies of the Liberation Struggles], in Bissau in September 2018.
from series Mãos | 2015 | Teresa Dias Coelho ( courtesy of the artist )
28 set 2019 | Paulo de Medeiros
Silly, sinister, season: On “The Responsibility of Intellectuals” (I)
Summer is always over too soon. This year, however, its literal end and accompanying metaphorical continuation were felt even more rashly due to the intensified attacks on European democracies and any sort of future for a united, peaceful, Europe. Many causes can be adduced, yet I would like to focus on a single one for the moment: the inability of many Europeans to accept Europe’s postimperial condition and their wilful failure of memory.
The Honourable Justice Julia Sakardie-Mensah | 2005 | Pieter Hugo (courtesy of the artist and Michael Stevenson, Cape Town)
21 set 2019 | Margarida Calafate Ribeiro
Waiting for the Next Future (II)
The future of the West is now inextricably linked to that of the non-West. The environmental issues the world faces as well as the inexorable rise of the economic power of China and other Asian countries make it impossible for the West to consider ‘what comes next’ in the same ways as before. But the challenge is far deeper than the present debate on the ‘decline of the West’ suggests. My lecture will focus on how the postcolonial challenge to the West’s outlook on the world as well as the influence of citizens of non-Western origins living now in the West have combined to expose the limits of what I call Western rationality – by which I mean the theories we use to understand and act upon the world.
Kanimambo | 1998 | Ângela Ferreira ( courtesy of the artist)
14 set 2019 | Margarida Calafate Ribeiro
Waiting for the Next Future
An inaptly christened “return of the colonial past” has emerged in the last few years in Europe and in Portugal. In Portugal this is a past that has been more or less silenced since decolonization and the revolutionary period of 1974-75 with its movements of people, including the so-called ‘return’ of settlers, officials and military personnel from the former African colonies. That was the end of an era for Portugal and the beginning of another. Afterwards, apart from novels that narrated the realities of the Colonial War, silence was the watchword of the 1980s and 1990s regarding this recent Portuguese past.
From the series Ma Demeure | 2018 | Dalila Dalléas Bouzar ( courtesy of the artist )
7 set 2019 | Helena Machado and Sheila Khan
The Memory and History inscribed in the Genetic Technologies of Fighting Crime
In his elegant essay, "The Idea of Europe", George Steiner romantically exalts and renders eternal a multicultural, cosmopolitan and borderless Europe. But this Europe is confronted with the ghosts of its past by terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom. As Europeans, these attacks leave us stunned by our own memories and unable to make inferences or draw conclusions.
Dis- | 2019 | Arne Kaiser ( courtesy of the artist )
24 aug 2019 | Arne Kaiser
Cultural life is our way of adding up creatively new facets to the societies we're living in. More often now we're seeing regressive movements and initiatives against it, trying to revive past myth and to rewrite the fundaments of our contemporaneity. Activism against change, initiatives contra-progress, retrocession versus creation; distrust in what is ambiguous and different, what does not easily fit into daily life or cannot get instantly valorised and consumed.
Sketchbook, views from the Aljube, Lisbon ( pencil, ink and watercolor drawings ) | 2019 | Sharon Lubkemann Allen ( courtesy of the artist )
17 aug 2019 | Fátima da Cruz Rodrigues
A brief reflection on the The Portuguese Prison Photo Project exhibition at the Museum Aljube - Resistance and Freedom
From the 11th of May to the 29th of September this year the Museum Aljube – Resistance and Freedom is showing an exhibition entitled The Portuguese Prison Photo Project. It consists of a set of photographs of Portuguese prisons by Luís Barbosa, a Portuguese social and cultural documentary photographer (winner of a Portuguese Society of Authors award for work around the exhibition), and Peter M. Schulthess, a Swiss architectural photographer who works primarily in prison spaces.
Series Mãos | 2015 | Teresa Dias Coelho ( courtesy of the artist )
27 jul 2019 | Irène dos Santos
Portugal-Angola: returns and detours for plural memories in Portuguese society
Since the 2000s there has emerged in Portugal a plurality of narratives on the colonial past, with a multiplication of fictional and biographic accounts published by/on veterans of the colonial war, along with deserters, members of the resistance and anti-colonialists, and retornados. Such memories and postmemories, under analysis in the academic fields of literary theory and postcolonial studies, have contributed to the visibility of the memorial question in public space.
Mínimos detalhes de paisagem | 2015 | Cristina Ataíde ( courtesy of the artist )
20 jul 2019 | Paulo de Medeiros
It is late and the Angel of Benjamin, his “Angel of Progress’ and no longer Paul Klee’s Angel, lies itself in ruins amid the rubble of centuries. His distorted face and broken wings smeared with red blood, as it failed utterly not so much to stop the wind rushing from Paradise, but another kind of wind, more seemingly out of Hell, or what passes for Hell in our present, the all—too—human perversion of the powerful, intent in reducing everyone to the condition of slaves or animals.
My professor said that we needed to get to grips with the French language| 1985 | Alain Le Saux
13 jul 2019 | Graça Dos Santos
Glotophobia: from linguistic discrimination to accent racism
“In our society, language is a powerful and unrecognized instrument of domination and discrimination. Imposing your language as the only acceptable, respectable or reasonable one, and belittling, disqualifying or rejecting another person for their way of speaking, their accent or their vocabulary is as illegitimate as rejecting them for their religion, the colour of their skin or their sexual orientation – forms of discrimination more or less recognized and punished by the law in France”. Discriminations based on language are, however, generally ignored, even though they affect thousands of people.
The Bedroom in English | 2015 | Tatiana Macedo ( courtesy of the artist )
6 jul 2019 | Roberto Vecchi
Scenes of colonial memory: decay and the ruins of Macau
Decay is not just one shade of a certain stripe of modernity. It is also a way of looking, with hindsight, at a charged and potent past: the irremovable stain of decay to which Frantz Fanon referred in the context of the war in Algeria. Decay therefore assumes the form of a taut relationship between the present and the past. It can also be inscribed within a dynamic of the transmission of the past, in which the communication of experienced memory is altered. This too is a profound reformulation. Memory degrades and almost loses its power of representation: identification with an emptied past brought close to extinction becomes impossible.
Impermanências (photo by Alberto Mayer) | 2009 | Cristina Ataíde (courtesy of the artist)
29 jun 2019 | António Pinto Ribeiro
Restitution is everywhere
Some time ago a friend sent me a message: “this thing about the restitution of works of art suddenly seems to be everywhere. Or am I the only one who hadn’t noticed before? ... it’s even in a detective novel I’m reading”. It is indeed everywhere, and not all of a sudden. Indeed, demands for the restitution of works appropriated both during and the end of formal colonialism began to emerge in the eighteenth century. However, the scale of the international debate and discussion of how to implement restitution have taken on fresh impetus recently, in particular after French President Emmanuel Macron announced in a speech in Ouagadougou that the French State intended to return works expropriated from former French colonies held in the museums and archives of France.
Pico do Areeiro #1 - Madeira | 2008 | Cristina Ataíde (courtesy of the artist)
22 jun 2019 | Felipe Cammaert
In contemporary Europe, several decades after the end of colonialism, racism continues in many social spaces of a continent that still struggles to face up to its imperial past. News of racist episodes abounds. The growing presence of parties of the extreme right in Europe (as shown by, among other things, the recent European election results) has encouraged exclusionary discourses and behaviours by some citizens against others.
Memorial 25 de Abril, Portugal da Liberdade | Fontenay-sous-Bois, France (wikimedia commons)
15 jun 2019 | Miguel Cardina
The refusal of war and the colonial abyss
On one of the walls hangs the large, white, sculpted marble map that represents Portuguese explorations of the 15th and 16th centuries. A shaft of light illuminates Africa. We glimpse the shadow§of Salazar, making his famous Braga speech of 1936 and declaring the indubitable trinity of God, the Fatherland, and the Family. So ends the exhibition that was open between April and May in the Casa de Portugal of the Cité Universitaire in Paris, Refuser la Guerre Coloniale [Refusing the Colonial War], organized by the association Mémoire Vive [Live Memory].
Sorceress | May 8th to July 27th | Group exhibition | Julien Salaud, Katia Bourdarel, Dalila Dalléas Bouzar, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou, Marion Laval-Jeantet, Myriam Mechita, Annette Messager, Lionel Sabatté... Curator Marie Deparis-Yafil, H2M, Bourg-en-Bresse (courtesy of the artists)
08 jun 2019 | Fernanda Vilar
Silences which become art
On the 23rd February 2005 the French parliament passed a law stating “the recognition by the Nationof repatriated French people” and declaring France’s desire to revisit its colonial past, in particularby including it in school and university curricula. Fourteen years have passed since the passing of that law. Since then majority of the debate that has taken place has been within a revisionist atmosphere, but it is only recently that studies have emerged that question the official narrative.
Orientalism and Reverse | 2015 | Tatiana Maced o (courtesy of the artist)
01 jun 2019 | Alexandra Reza
Recalcitrant domestics on the radical radar
Saidiya Hartman’s article, “The Anarchy of Colored Girls Assembled in a Riotous Manner” (2018), offers a “speculative history” of Esther Brown, a black woman living in New York in the early decades of the twentieth century. Hartman seeks to understand Esther Brown’s “wild and wayward” (469) life, how and why the state incarcerated her, and the significance of the collective noise strikes in which she participated in prison.
Ethiopian Walks | 2017 | Cristina Ataíde (courtesy of the artist)
25 may 2019 | Bruno Sena Martins
Black People in Portugal
Originally published in 1988, the book Os Negros em Portugal [Black People in Portugal], by José Ramos Tinhorão, has recently been re-issued in a third edition by the publishing house Caminho. Tinhorão’s work gives an overview of different aspects of the presence of a significant black African population in Portugal, established as a result of the slave trade which began in the 15th century. The persistent dominance of a kind of lusotropicalist reticence as regards the colonial past has been one of a number of factors that have meant that Portuguese historiography has been slow to give adequate weight to the subject of slavery.
Portrait of two servants, Diego Bemba and Pedro Sunda, who accompanied D. Miguel de Castro, Congo ambassador, to Brazil | 1643 | Albert Eckhout (1610-1665)
18 may 2019 | Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo
“Congoísmos”, to the North (and South)
The production of layers upon layers of stereotypes has always been useful for the (geo)political imagination. The making of stereotypes has functioned in different ways across different historical contexts, with any number of protagonists and interests at stake. Stereotypes have served, and continue to serve, many ideologies, and have been justified in many ways. Producing stereotypes has been, and continues to be, profitable for many fields, including academics and artists, who frequently, and without hesitation, play parts in political and ideological perations which run directly counter to their self image of autonomy, criticism and dignity.
from the serie Sporting Narratives | 2018 | Márcio Carvalho (courtesy of the artist)
11 may 2019 | Tiago Mota Saraiva
The good Portuguese architect – tropicalizing colonialism: a critical reading of the post-colonial narrative of “Portuguese architecture”
Post-colonial studies have taken a central role in problematizing identity, and, accordingly, in political debate. From a European perspective, these post-colonial studies are among the most important areas of knowledge for constructing the future of Europe and its relationship with the world.
You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming | 2018 | Mónica de Miranda
04 may 2019 | António Sousa Ribeiro
Autotopographies - Peter Weiss in Auschwitz
It is well-known that the concept of postmemory was gradually incorporated in scientific discourse in the wake of the publication of the book Family Frames, by Marianne Hirsch, in 1997. Reflection on the transgenerational dimensions of the notion of memory is, however, of course, much earlier than Hirsch’s proposal.
Joëlle Sambi | 2019 | Lyse Ishimwe
27 apr 2019 | Joëlle Sambi
It’s that you have to walk on nails and grin, teeth in wind: to your troop of colleagues around the coffee machine (pause)
Three times per day. Three times.
Even if it’s already the final straw, even if it’s the same colleagues and you’ve already crossed them in the lift, in the corridor, on the 3rd floor, in meetings and sometimes - unlucky – coming out of the loo. (...)
The Black Boy | 1844 | William Lindsay Windus
20 apr 2019 | Hélia Santos
In the last two years in Portugal we have witnessed intense public debates about national identity. These have taken on a previously unheard tenor not only in terms of the currency they have accrued outside the academic world, but also in terms of the actors who have received media attention and influenced public opinion. In particular, a number of associations of young people of colour, both Portuguese and others living in Portugal, such as DJASS, INMUNE and Plataforma Gueto (...)
Bonheur d’Amour Prussien | 1890 | Emil Doerstling
13 apr 2019 | Ana Paula Rebelo Correia
Black, between painting and history
Can a white, European man represent a black, Afro-Brazilian man? This question, asked by António Pinto Ribeiro in 2006, could have been the epigraph for Noir. Entre Peinture et Histoire [Black. Between Painting and History], recently published in France. The book takes us on a journey through European painting from the fifteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth, to discover how white European painters and their patrons understood and represented black people.
Valley of the Fallen | Photo by Francisco Ferrándiz
06 apr 2019 | Francisco Ferrándiz
The Valley of The Fallen in 21st century Spain
The Valley of the Fallen is the most controversial monument in contemporary Spain. It was first imagined by Francisco Franco during the Civil War (1936-1939) to host the bodies of the winners in the conflict and establish a permanent religious cult to commemorate their martyrdom and sacrifice.
Afri-Cola | 2017 | Tatiana Macedo (courtesy of the artist)
30 mar 2019 | Margarida Calafate Ribeiro
48 War portraits / 48 Time bombs / 48 Elegies
W.H.R. Rivers was a British anthropologist and psychiatrist at Craiglockhart military hospital in Scotland. On the 4th December 1917, as the First World War was raging, Rivers gave a now classic speech on ‘The Repression of War Experience” at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, later published in The Lancet in February 1918.
Loup de verdure | 2017 | Louise Narbo (courtesy of the artist)
23 mar 2019 | Fátima Rodrigues
What you can do when seeing with another person’s eyes
(...) Narbo’s photographs provoke us to think about the processes that make up post-memory, that is a “second-generation memory, the child of a first, witnessed memory (living, present, experiential), marked by silence”.
Fantástica (from Open House series) | 2006 | José Bechara (courtesy of the artist)
16 mar 2019 | Paulo de Medeiros
At one point in Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Beloved (1987), Sethe, the main protagonist, says: “Some things go. Pass on. Some things just stay. I used to think it was my rememory. You know. Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still there.
Autumn Leaves | 2018 | Anonymous author
09 mar 2019 | Roberto Vechi
Institutionalized celebration and monsters of memory
Does memory, as the poet Julio Castañon Guimarães puts it, in a well-known single-versed poem “have its days numbered”?
In Italy, memory has its own special celebration, the ‘Day of Memory’, on the 27th of January.
Madrinhas | 2018 | Amilton Neves (courtesy of the artist)
02 mar 2019 | Rui Trindade
Mozambican “madrinhas de guerra”: a story to be told
Madrinhas de Guerra, ‘Wartime Godmothers’, an exhibition by the young Mozambican photographer Amilton Neves that appeared in the 2018 Maputo Fast Forward festival, has the merit, among other things, of bringing to public attention a theme that many continue to consider ‘delicate’ even 40 years after independence.
Luanda | 2018 | Tatiana Macedo (courtesy of the artist)
23 feb 2019 | Felipe Cammaert
On the Colonial War: memories and post-memories, transmission and imagination
The distance between the writer and the traumatic reality about which they write determines the result of literary attempts to convey the experience of violence. Nevertheless, there are similarities between the artistic representations of memory offered by direct witnesses of events and those re-elaborated by their descendants (those we call post-memories).
Twins (from Cinema Karl Marx series) | 2017 | Mónica de Miranda (courtesy of the artist)
16 feb 2019 | António Pinto Ribeiro
Questions of language, multilingualism and exile
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Vhils mural in tribute to Marielle Franco | Brave Walls initiative | Scratching the Surface project | 2018
Photo by Felipe Cammaert | Panorâmico de Monsanto, Lisbon
9 feb 2019 | Fernanda Vilar
Intertwinings: peripheral arts, artivism and post-memory
The urban spaces of major European capitals encompass people of diverse geographic origins, who mainly inhabit these cities’ peripheries. These unequal social and geographical relations produce demands that must be urgently met to avoid (re) producing new forms of coloniality.
2 feb 2019 | Bruno Sena Martins
From Amílcar Cabral to the Bairro da Jamaica
As the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Amílcar Cabral (January 20, 1973) drew near, I decided to plunge into the lengthy collection Amílcar Cabral’s Letters to Maria Helena - The Other Face of the Man (2016). The book compiles letters that the independence leader sent between 1946 and 1960 to Maria Helena: first his friend, then girlfriend, then wife.
¿Con cuántas piedras se hace una balsa? | 2012 | Rodrigo Oliveira (courtesy of the artist)
26 jan 2019 | Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo
One soliloquy, several “ghosts”
“The Kodak has been a sore calamity to us. The most powerful enemy that has confronted us, indeed. In the early years we had no trouble in getting the press to “expose” the tales of the mutilations as slanders, lies, inventions of busy-body American missionaries and exasperated foreigners who had found the “open door” of the Berlin-Congo charter closed against them when they innocently went out there to trade; (...)
Another day of life | 2018 | courtesy of Midas Filmes
19 jan 2019 | Hélia Santos
Another day of life: the journalist memorialized, Angola forgotten
In November 2018, the film adaptation of the Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Another Day of Life: Angola 1975, originally published in 1976, arrived at Portuguese cinemas.Kapuscinski was a war correspondent for much of his professional life, (1932-2007) and closely followed the independence processes of several countries in Africa and beyond.
Spell Reel | 2017 | Filipa César
12 jan 2019 | Miguel Cardina
Luta Ca Caba Inda: from archive to fragment
At first it was a gesture. At the height of the liberation struggle, the PAIGC (the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) decided to send a group of young people to Cuba for professional training. Of the 25 young people who arrived in 1967, four of them - Flora Gomes, Sana na N’Hada, Josefina Lopes Crato and José Bolama Cobumba - were going to study cinema, the idea being that they would subsequently film the struggle.
Habitações serviçais | 2015 | Carla Cabana (courtesy of the artist)
5 jan 2019 | António Sousa Ribeiro
Humboldt Forum or Benin Forum?
The delivery of the report by Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr to Emmanuel Macron, followed by the French president’s promise to take the advice of these experts concerning the identification and restitution of pieces with a colonial origin unduly kept in French museums, gave a new impulse to a discussion which is undoubtedly far from being concluded.
Piroga, Ubundu, RDC (1958), at AfricaMuseum hall | 2018 | photo by MEMOIRS
22 dec 2018 | António Pinto Ribeiro e Margarida Calafate Ribeiro
Restituting artworks: a decisive step in the process of decolonization
On 7 December 2018, the Belgian Royal Museum of Central Africa was finally closed and the AfricaMuseum opened in its place. This new Belgian federal museum replaces the Museum of the Congo, which King Leopold II created in 1898 following the Brussels International Exhibition in 1897. That exhibition aimed to legitimise and glorify Leopold II as King of Belgium and as the absolute owner of the territory and resources of the Independent State of the Congo. But the exhibition also aimed to promote the scientific study of that territory and to exalt colonial action itself. Such an imposing infrastructure was created for this temporary exhibition that it became permanent.
I dont trust myself | 2015 | Carla Cabanas (courtesy of the artist)
15 dec 2018 | Roberto Vecchi
The (re)uses of the past
The October 2018 Brazilian elections will interest analysts and researchers for a long time to come. For many reasons, Brazil appears to be a political laboratory in whose experiments we can glimpse traces of our own futures. The determining features of these experiments include: the unexpected weight of social media compared to the traditional media; he abuses of ‘fake news’; the politicization of the judiciary; the concealment of government intentions; and the discontent and insecurity that permeates forms of citizenship of all kinds. (...)
2 twist tomorrow is another day | 2017 | Mónica de Miranda (courtesy of the artist)
8 dec 2018 | Vasco Luís Curado, Mónica V. Silva
The Hottentot Venus, her audiences and science
In 2002, the remains of Sarah Baartman returned to South Africa, in order that she receive a a funeral in her homeland. For more than 150 years, these remains – a skeleton and some organs preserved in formaldehyde – had been treated as zoological museum pieces, not as the remains of a person with rights defended by universal laws.
Yes, Black and European
In 2018, for the first time, the European Parliament devoted a week to increasing awareness of the approximately 15 million Europeans of African descent living in Europe. The first EU week dedicated to People of African Descent Week (...)
Cloud game | 2015 | Carla Cabanas (courtesy of the artist)
1 dec 2018 | Paulo de Medeiros
So still a rage
The first chapter of Now, a recent book signed by the collective that goes under the name of The Invisible Committee, bears a title as significant as it is ominous: “Tomorrow is cancelled”. It starts with a stark series of observations about our current moment: All the reasons for making a revolution are there. Not one is lacking. The shipwreck of politics, the arrogance of the powerful, the reign of falsehood, the vulgarity of the wealthy, the cataclysms of industry, galloping misery, naked exploitation, ecological apocalypse—we are spared nothing, not even being informed about it all.
Muaua | 2017 | Paulo Faria (courtesy of the artist)
24 nov 2018 | Paulo Faria
Stone, cotton or oil
— Look, look at this! This is what we were talking about.
Fingers eager to force open the sack, tilt it towards me, to snatch handfuls of the reddish cotton, covered in dirt. The bag vomits up a stone, then another. An adobe brick. Laughter. The middleman tells them to look for the other bags with the same name on the outside. They have already been weighed and put into the truck.
—There are three bags. This one and two more. We need the other two.
Casa (from Open House series) | 2006 | José Bechara
17 nov 2018 | Fátima da Cruz Rodrigues
When not even the dead see the end of a war
In Soliloquios en Inglaterra (Soliloquies in England) and Soliloquios Posteriores (Later Soliloquies), written between 1914 and 1921, the Spanish philosopher George Santayana said that “only the dead saw the end of the war”. In truth, not everything that wars have destroyed, created, ravaged, and desecrated comes to an end when they are over. Among the many remains, wreckage and legacies that wars leave, and which inevitably contaminate several subsequent generations, sometimes even the dead see no end.
Horizontes (from Guiné series) | 2015 | Filipe Branquinho
10 nov 2018 | Roberto Vecchi
Mythology and memory
Neuroscience has not yet fully explained how memory functions. Nevertheless, a cultural perspective gives us some leads. An enormous archive of artistic works stage the desire to salvage the past. In the terms set up by Walter Benjamin’s discussion of Proust, these works can, often figuratively, show us the warp of Penelope’s web of memory.
The Women’s War, 1929 | 2017 | Omar Victor Diop | (courtesy of the artist and Autograph ABP)
3 nov 2018 | Bruno Sena Martins
Liberty / Diaspora. A universal chronology of the history of decolonization
Perhaps out of secret hope that benevolent forces decide our daily fortunes, we often read coincidences into connections that turn out to have prosaic explanations. I felt touched by one of those tricksy coincidences when, out and about in London, I walked into the Autograph gallery on Rivington Place, and came upon LIBERTY / DIASPORA, an exhibition of the work of Omar Victor Diop.
Palomo | 2014 | Berna Reale (courtesy of the artist)
27 oct 2018 | Fernanda Vilar
The gulf between truth and memory
The dark times Brazil is going through make manifest our concerns about the fading of the news into fake news. The electoral strategy of turning lies into truths is not exclusive to modern social media. We need to know how to put the truth back into the truth. We need to know how to conjugate truth with memory in the making of history - especially in light of the recent (in)voluntary incineration of files in important Brazilian museums.
Museo Casa de la Memoria (Medellín) | 2018 | photo Felipe Cammaert
20 oct 2018 | Felipe Cammaert
Medellín / es 70, 80, 90, (Medellín(s) 70, 80, 90) a temporary exhibition at the Casa Museo de la Memoria, presents a chronology of the three most atrocious decades in the twentieth century history of Colombia’s second largest city, one of the most violent in the world.
Space to Forget (oil on canvas) | 2014 | Titus Kaphar © Titus Kaphar. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
13 oct 2018 | Paulo de Medeiros
Even as academic research into questions of memory has made significant advances in the past twenty years, one could be forgiven for thinking we had entered a phase of deep cultural amnesia. All over the world we witness the resurgence of forces bent on reversing all and any emancipatory achievements of the last couple of centuries, be it in the realm of politics, gender relations, racial questions, or even plain and simple science.
Cabinet de Curiosités | 2017 | Rosana Paulino
6 oct 2018 | Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo
The history of claims for reparations after slavery and the slave trade is long and complex. Indeed, it is longer and more complex than is commonly acknowledged. Demands for reparations are not a recent phenomenon; they do not result from contemporary debates about individual and collective identities.
black moon | 2018 | Nú Barreto
29 sep 2018 | Hélia Santos
Forgetting in Portuguese
We can understand a society both by what it treasures in its collective memory, and by what it forgets. It is a fact: societies forget. Forgetting is a necessary process for creating collective identities, political solidarities and projects of social governance. It plays a role, too, in survival and rebeginning after civil wars or other crises in which societies break down.
Museo Casa de la Memoria (Medellín) | courtesy of the Museum
22 sep 2018 | Miguel Cardina
The House of Memory Museum (Medellín) and memory as past-present
In his book The Museum of Innocence, Orhan Pamuk imagined a museum as if it were a house. An intimate space where history could be glimpsed through a patchwork of fragments of daily life. An idea, perhaps, more appropriate for biography, in all its diversity and richness, than for producing and reproducing the epic discourse of the nation. Can a museum be a home?
Birds | 2017 | Joaquim Arena
15 sep 2018 | Margarida Calafate Ribeiro
Europe, periphery of the creole islands
Working from their shared standpoint of the colonial condition and legacy of slavery on Martinique, in the French Antilles, the philosophers Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon and Édouard Glissant all thought deeply about how social reality constitutes us all.
in city | 2017 | Nú Barreto
8 sep 2018 | António Pinto Ribeiro, Ana Tironi
Although hidden, conflicts exist over all three days
This weekend is the 41st Festa do Avante. The festival is organised by the official newspaper of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and declares itself “the greatest cultural event in the country.”
What can a book do
Some time ago, a book fell into my hands that had been written by a couple of French psychoanalysts, who for thirty years has been studying, from real cases, the connection between personal or collective trauma and madness.
untitled | 2018 | Ana Vidigal
1 sep 2018 | Roberto Vecchi
Family memories and public memories: battlefields
Literature - and Portuguese literature is no exception – opens deep cracks in the unfathomable worlds of memory and familial relationships. Made up of resistances, and with all its slipperiness, familial memory is one of the most complex archives. It is an antidote to the total loss of the past. Effective or symbolic images of lived experiences – pleasant or painful – lurk in this intimate and private space. The evocation of family memory always evokes those discursive and lived, affective and familiar relationships between generations.
s/t (from series C’est pas facile) | 2016 | Mauro Pinto
25 aug 2018 | Vasco Luís Curado
Two memories of the Colonial War
The man told me about his war. He was mobilized halfway through an leisurely course in Maths and became an officer in the artillery. He calculated targets for the mortar fire. They sent him to a barracks in the forests of Northern Angola. He was the most slovenly officer of the garrison: badly dressed, with his hat awry. It was said of him that he lived in another world - perhaps the abstract world of mathematics, which took up all his attention and distracted him from immediate, worldly things. In the barracks there were giant artillery pieces which fired hundreds of kilometres.
Red House (from series Gurué) | 2014 | Filipe Branquinho
4 aug 2018 | Sílvia Roque
Amílcar Cabral: journeys, memories, descolonization
After Letters from Amílcar Cabral to Maria Helena / The other side of the man (Amílcar Cabral a Maria Helena / A Outra Face do Homem) the Cape-Verdean press Rosa de Porcelana is publishing another book based on the PAIGC leader’s correspondence, Itineraries of Amílcar Cabral (Itinerários de Amílcar Cabral, 2018). The book is a collection of letters sent by Cabral to his partner, Ana Maria, and to his children, Raul and Ndira. It has been put together by Ana Maria Cabral herself, along with Filinto Elísio and Márcia Souto, and annotated by the historian Aurora Almada e Santos.
Intervalo (from series Gurué) | 2014 | Filipe Branquinho
28 jul 2018 | Vasco Luís Curado
Declaration of war 2
When I was called up in 1969, my expertise was in Special Operations. I trained a combat group in Santa Margarida,. Me and my group of 25 men went to Guinea. I did a lot of guerrilla warfare and trips to the bush. We were Rangers, and well prepared. We securitised the new settlements where Guinean communities were living in adobe houses to be further away from the terrorists and closer to us. Politicians called it reordering.
Arquivo Vivo, Teatro do Vestido | 2018 | photo by Nuno Simão Gonçalves
21 jul 2018 | António Pinto Ribeiro
Theatre in the state of exception
Retornados, Exiles and Some That Stayed Behind and Children of Return are recent plays by Teatro do Vestido, directed by Joana Craveiro. These works present an opportunity to reflect on a body of contemporary theatre in Portugal that is taking on memories of the dictatorship, the colonial war and the legacies of the Portuguese ex-empire. They also offer an important point of comparison with some Latin American theatre. Like Portugal, many Latin American countries lived through military dictatorships between the 1960s and 1980s. Those countries also experienced repressive ideological and economic colonization from the Cold War-era USA.
from the serie Sporting Narratives | 2018 | Márcio Carvalho
14 jul 2018 | António Sousa Ribeiro
“Discoveries” - Colonialities of memory
If the “Museum of the Discoveries” suggested by the mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, should ever come to exist – hopefully under a more adequate name – one of its showrooms, preferably the very first one, should be dedicated to a documentation of the controversy that has filled the pages of newspapers since the announcement of the project, after a large group of intellectuals and researchers took a public stand, contesting the orientation implicit in the name under proposal. The pedagogic import of such a documentation is unmistakeable.
Blue Tree (from the serie botânica) | 2016 | Filipe Branquinho
07 jul 2018 | Fatima da Cruz Rodrigues
The National Meeting of Veterans: ‘perhaps during this ceremony we should only hear the bugles play’
No dia da cerimónia de inauguração do Monumento aos Combatentes do Ultramar, a 15 de janeiro de 1994, as primeiras palavras do discurso proferido por Adriano Moreira foram: “Sr. Presidente da República, Combatentes. Talvez nesta cerimónia cívica destinada a honrar os combatentes da guerra do ultramar português fosse apropriado fazer ouvir apenas os clarins num dos toques que misturam os sons da agonia com os sons da glória”.
The Big Wave Rider | 2017 | Pedro A. H. Paixão
30 jun 2018 | Felipe Cammaert
Brussels’ Lumumba Square: A site of controversial memory
On 30 June 2018, after several years of debate, the municipality of Brussels will open a square named after and in honour of Patrice Lumumba, the key figure in the history of Congolese independence and, in 1960, the short-lived Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo. Significantly, the inauguration has been scheduled for the anniversary of Congolese independence: Belgian colonial rule, in place since the 1884 Berlin Conference, came to an end on 30 June 1960.
everything will be alright | 2015 | Pedro Valdez Cardoso
23 jun 2018 | Vasco Luís Curado, Fernanda Vilar
Declaration of war 1
In 1960, I turned twenty, and got called up. I went on a course for paramilitary sergeants and graduated as a quartermaster on the day we set off for Angola, on 5 May 1961. The company HQ was in Muxaluando.
How things stand: France 2018, the debate about colonial history
It is halfway through 2018. Emmanuel Macron is the President of France. A year ago he declared colonisation a “crime against humanity.” Macron levied his criticism of colonisation during a visit to Algeria, a territory the French dominated for 114 years, from 1848 to 1962.
untitled | 2018 | Ana Vidigal
16 jun 2018 | Hélia Santos
Memories of Portuguese colonialism staged by Hotel Europa
“There is a way of remembering things. There is way of remembering things collectively...”. So begins a trilogy about the end of Portuguese empire in Africa, produced between 2015 and 2017 by the Hotel Europa theatre company. In Portugal não é um País Pequeno (‘Portugal is not a small country,’ 2015), Passa-Porte (‘Passport,’ 2017) and Libertação (‘Liberation,’ 2017), André Amálio puts written and audiovisual archive material into a sometimes conflictual dialogue with testimonies he has collected from people who lived through that period.
the behaviour of being | 2017 | Pauliana Pimentel
9 jun 2018 | Miguel Cardina
Lives beyond the pale
Wars exceed their historical limits. Their shrapnel wounds continue to bleed over time, producing public and private mechanisms of resignification and silencing. The disruption of war lives on and touches people who themselves have no direct experience of it, through their personal, affective and/or familial proximity to people who do. If this (post-) memory is always in essence a reconstruction of the past based as much, if not more, in dialogue as in erasure, it points to a private realm where these memories circulate (or not).
untitled | 2018 | Ana Vidigal
2 jun 2018 | Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo
Which “legacies” are we talking about?
During an intense debate in France about history and memory, partly triggered by the 23 February 2005 legislation requiring teachers to convey to their students the “positive values” of French colonialism, Jean-François Bayart and Bertrand Romain asked in L’Esprit “de quel ‘legs colonial’ parle-t-on?” What ‘colonial legacy’ are we talking about?
Empires | 2015 | Pedro Valdez Cardoso
26 may 2018 | Bruno Sena Martins, Paulo de Medeiros
The Portuguese Colonial War and its immortal wounds
In his story ‘The Witness,’ Jorge Luis Borges suggests that, from a certain perspective, the battle of Junín ended and disappeared forever after the death of the last man who fought in it.
War memories and memory wars
Approximately midway through the recent graphic narrative authored by Swann Merali and Deloupy, with the title Algériennes 1954-1962 (Marabout, 2018), the reader comes across a startling statement: ‘this has become a war of memories’.
from the serie Quel pedra | 2017 | Pauliana Pimentel
19 may 2018 | António Pinto Ribeiro
The impossible museum
Museums are not archives. Still less are they collections of collections. More than anything, they are instruments of power used to represent worldviews informed by particular epistemologies. ‘National’ museums are designed to produce and diffuse a particular memory of national identity.
The Greatest Show On Earth | 2018 | Pedro Valdez Cardoso
12 may 2018 | Roberto Vecchi
Argentina and its familial scars
The theme of Memoirs is the familial and intergenerational transmission of traumatic memory, which itself is one way of defining the concept of ‘post-memory.’ The family is an opaque and indecipherable object that fundamentally complicates the task of studying private memories. How can we pierce the thick diaphragm that protects and obscures the subjective, private and disavowed pasts buried in the darkest and deepest regions of the family space?
untitled | 2018 | Ana Vidigal
5 may 2018 | Margarida Calafate Ribeiro, António Sousa Ribeiro
Post-colonial ghosts on the loose in Europe
The 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Lys fell on April 9, 2018. The presidents of Portugal and France as well as the Prime Minister António Costa took part in the celebrations and the television and the newspapers marked the event emphatically.
Contested memories: the “African quarter” in Berlin
German colonial experience, as is well-known, was relatively short: the defeat of the Reich in 1918 brought about its abrupt end, since the several punitive measures set up by the Treaty of Versailles included the obligation for Germany to surrender all colonial territories in its possession.