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Popular Art and Portuguese Identity. Anatomy of an Exhibition

An event with Professor Anthony Shelton

Thursday 21 May 2015, 6pm, Room G01, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

Between the 1920s-1950s, rural popular art became an important part of the government-sponsored re-creation of Portuguese national identity and history. Books and articles were written about popular art, films were produced on it and domestic and international exhibitions displayed it, creating a particularly Portuguese ‘taste’ that hid the dire conditions of poverty, suffering, and illiteracy that characterized many of its rural provinces. Sixty-five years later, UBC MOA (Museum of Anthropology) will open a major exhibition on Portuguese popular art. This talk will discuss the complex mixture of ideologies and philosophies, which underlie the representation of popular art and national identity during the dictatorship (Estado Novo), its re-accommodation after the establishment of democracy in 1974, and the challenges of curating an exhibition that deals with historical imaginations.…

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