Monday, 11 June 2018

Discussing the decolonisation of museums in Portugal

Photo: Maria Vlachou

I love museums. I love them for what they are; I love them for what they are not, but can be; I love them for their potential. I especially love them because of the work developed by a number of colleagues around the world so that museums may adapt to new realities, remain or become relevant for people, and even reinvent themselves. I particularly love them lately because of the controversies they cause or face, pushing our thinking and practice forward.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Can there be political democracy without cultural democracy?

Artemrede, Project Odisseias, "Histórias em Viagem"
This is the english translation of my article "Haverá democracia política sem democracia cultural? O lugar das 'periferias' em Portugal", published in Revista Observatório 24 | Arte, Cultura e Educação na América Latina, ITAÚ Cultural. Read here

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Cultural appropriation: less gatekeepers, more critical thinkers

"La Japonaise" by Claude Monet, Museum of Fine Arts Boston (image taken from

For Nandia

My first contact with the concept of cultural appropriation happened in July 2015 because of “Kimono Wednesdays” at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA). On the occasion of the display of Claude Monet’s “La Japonaise” (a painting of the artist’s wife, surrounded by fans, wearing a blond wig and a bright red kimono), visitors were invited to put on a kimono similar to the one shown on the painting and share their photos on social media. According to the museum, this was a way of engaging with the painting. For some people, though, the activity lacked any context regarding the garment, becoming just “fun”; others criticized it for reinforcing stereotypes and exoticizing Asian Americans; for others, it was blatant racism; (read Seph Rodney’s article). 

Saturday, 5 May 2018

“Lindonéia, the suburb’s Gioconda”: my first visit to the Pinacoteca of São Paulo

"Lindonéia, the suburb's Gioconda", Rubens Gerchman, Pinacoteca de São Paulo  (Photo: Maria Vlachou)

“Na frente do espelho
Sem que ninguém a visse
Lindonéia desaparecida
Despedaçados, atropelados
Cachorros mortos nas ruas
Policiais vigiando
O sol batendo nas frutas
Ai, meu amor
A solidão vai me matar de dor (...)”

Caetano Veloso, “Lindonéia”

One thing I noticed right from my first visits to the museums of São Paulo (Brazil) was that long introductory texts are greatly appreciated. The exhibition "Brazilian Vanguard of the 1960s – the Roger Wright Collection", at the Pinacoteca of São Paulo, was no exception.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Museum of (my) Discoveries

Exhibition "Return - Traces of Memory", Monument odf the Discoveries, Lisbon, 2015 (Photo: Maria Vlachou)

I'm Portuguese by adoption. When I arrived in Portugal, in 1995, the only thing I knew about the history of the country had to do with the Discoveries (of sea routes and spices, taught in my country in the 7th or 8th grade). Over the years, I have been "discovering" the rest (even with regard to the Discoveries and beyond the sea routes and the spices). The story I was taught in school was, as usual, only one part.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Towards Cultural Access and Participation in Portugal

My article for the magazine Howlround, on the occasion of the IETM plenary meeting that takes place in Porto this monht. Read the article

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Art, Community and Leadership debated at the ISPA Congress

Photo: Christopher Duggan Photography
My notes on the ISPA Congress, which was held in New York City last January.