Portugal, Race and Memory: a Conversation, a Reckoning

Portugal, Race and Memory: a Conversation, a Reckoning Today, we are learning that invisibility can shun and silence but cannot extinguish. And yes, colonialism can be unlearned; but to do so, it must first be confronted. Colonial amnesia is a political disease – and one for which we have yet to find a cure. Unlike the words uttered by Bruno Candé’s murderer, there are no more senzalas to return to. But, aligned with the theme of reckoning that brought us here today, to unlearn and decolonize, the past must be confronted. One way to start, would entail acknowledging the intersectionality of race-making and forge a vision of collective life not ruled by marked hierarchies.

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01.04.2021 | by Patrícia Martins Marcos

How Portugal silenced ‘centuries of violence and trauma’

How Portugal silenced ‘centuries of violence and trauma’ References to Portugal’s epic, seafaring past like these litter this city – there is even a Vasco da Gama shopping mall. But until now, there has never been a single explicit reference, memorial or monument in Portugal’s public space to its pioneering role in the transatlantic slave trade, nor any acknowledgement of the millions of lives that were stolen between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Games Without Borders

15.03.2021 | by Ana Naomi de Sousa

The untold liberation stories of Guinea Bissau

The untold liberation stories of Guinea Bissau It is February 1964—one year into the armed struggle for independence in Guinea Bissau against Portuguese colonial rule. Cabral, the independence struggle’s leader, had called a conference in Cassaca for his African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) fighters to re-organize and address inter-party grievances. The Cabral as seen in this and similar photographs, with his defiant stance, dark glasses, and signature knitted stocking cap in spite of the West African heat, would become the iconic image of the West African country. More than fifty years later, the image is still used to signify both Guinea Bissau’s victory in the 11-year independence struggle and the country’s continued hopes for the future. But what about the faces of the young women surrounding the independence hero? Directly to Cabral’s left in the image stands a round-faced, then 14-year old girl, Joana Gomes.

Games Without Borders

04.02.2021 | by Ricci Shryock

Uncovering Lisbon’s Forgotten History of Slavery

Uncovering Lisbon’s Forgotten History of Slavery Despite the importance of chattel slavery to the making of Portugal and its overseas empire, this terrifying history of black bondage is entirely muted in the public memory of Lisbon. In contrast to the (recently established and far overdue) National Museum of African American History and Culture in the United States or the Museu Afro Brasilin São Paulo, Brazil, there are no such museums or reckoning public memorials in Lisbon along the lines of the Mémorial de l’Abolition d’Esclavage as in Nantes, France. More recently, however, a slavery museum was established in the historic “Mercado de Escravos” (Slave Market) of the southern Portuguese port of Lagos, which is said to be the site of the first trade in enslaved Africans in Europe. Yet, Lisbon remains largely silent on its legacy of white terror and black captivity.

City

04.02.2021 | by Yesenia Barragan

The history and protagonists of Afro-Portuguese music

The history and protagonists of Afro-Portuguese music The relevance of black participation in Portugal in the most diverse areas - including music - dates back several hundred years, but is rarely articulated in dominant public narratives. It is not, of course, that blacks in Portugal have no voice or are not present in the daily life of the country. It's often about talking without being considered, seeing without being seen, singing without being listened to - at least outside a cultural sphere that tends to be more circumscribed.

Stages

01.02.2021 | by Inês Nascimento Rodrigues

Notes on Curatorship, Cultural Programming and Coloniality in Portugal

Notes on Curatorship, Cultural Programming and Coloniality in Portugal This article examines the impact of contemporary curating and cultural programming in the configuration of critical perspectives on Portugal’s postcolonial identity. It argues that visual creativity is forging a new paradigm in the Portuguese cultural field. In this context, postcolonial discourses are not silenced but, rather, aligned with international agendas in broader cultural initiatives mirroring the transformation of the main Portuguese cities into cosmopolitan, multicultural, and multiethnic enclaves.

Games Without Borders

01.12.2020 | by Marta Lança and Carlos Garrido Castellano

In Portugal, Asian workers pick fruit and live precariously

In Portugal, Asian workers pick fruit and live precariously As night falls on São Teotónio, the lights are still on at the school. Three times a week, it stays open until midnight to hold classes for adults from the region, who come here at the end of a long day in the greenhouses – knowing they will need to speak some Portuguese in order to qualify for permanent residency. There are currently 500 adult students registered for night classes – almost matching the daytime intake of 600 children. Moldovan Vitali Siminionov, who picks flowers for a living, and whose two children both study at the school, joked: “They’re always correcting me saying ‘Dad, that’s not how you say it!”

Games Without Borders

24.11.2020 | by Ana Naomi de Sousa

The injustice of slavery is not over: the graves of the enslaved are still being desecrated

 The injustice of slavery is not over: the graves of the enslaved are still being desecrated The cumulative individual tragedies on slave trails to the coast, in the barracoons, and on the beaches: no one can even count. So the four centuries of African enslavement by Europeans remains an abstract story. The need to make it real, to find things that you can see, touch and feel is what most motivated me to participate in the ambitious documentary series Enslaved with Samuel L Jackson, to be broadcast on the BBC starting on Sunday. It’s an attempt to get away from the numbers and statistics and instead focus on the real people who endured this era – their flesh and bone, dreams and legacies.

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16.10.2020 | by Afua Hirsch

Portugal-Angola: returns and detours for plural memories in portuguese society

Portugal-Angola: returns and detours for plural memories in portuguese society Some of these stories also show that such ‘returns’ to Angola by people of Nuno’s generation may actually be critical detours, when they give rise, upon returning to Portugal, to critical postures on the colonial persistence within Portuguese society. In this European context, could the Portuguese case represent an alternative: something that, through a post-colonial journey, may lead to a more egalitarian society that accepts a plural public retelling of the past?

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29.07.2019 | by Irène dos Santos

"I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet... but your kids are gonna love it" - 2

"I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet... but your kids are gonna love it" -  2 Europe is said to be currently facing the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. In the media, images of people escaping from their home countries devastated by war and misery and arriving to Europe are recurrent. As these pictures spread and instigate different reactions – some of them highly racist and xenophobic – another picture came to my mind: a picture of Lisbon in 1975 by Alfredo Cunha, shortly after the arrival of 6000 people from the Portuguese ex-colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe and Cape Verde. in"Decolonizing Museums", L'Internacionale.

City

14.03.2016 | by Ana Bigotte Vieira

"I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet... but your kids are gonna love it" -1

"I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet... but your kids are gonna love it" -1 The text focuses on three operations – OPENING, REMOVAL and RESTITUTION - having Ana Hatherly’s work "As Ruas de Lisboa", Isabel Brison and Nuno Rodrigues de Sousa’s "O Monumento da Rotunda das Águas Livres", and Ana Bigotte Vieira’s "No Aleph – Notes about a research on Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation ACARTE Service (1984-1989)" as main sources. It is important to note that this text is being written in 2015, at a time when the brutal presence of a succession of absences in Portuguese recent history is felt more than ever. In fact, the current austerity policies point to the removal of a series of I would call ‘openings’ directly related to the Revolution on 25 April 1974 that overthrew António de Oliveira Salazar and Marcelo Caetano’s forty-eight year dictatorship and ended thirteen years of colonial wars. in"Decolonizing Museums", L'Internacionale

City

08.03.2016 | by Ana Bigotte Vieira

Does Racism Begin Where Culture Ends?

Does Racism Begin Where Culture Ends? We know that racism is the social, cultural and political result of eurocentrism, which created the need to mark, distinguish and separate racialized ethnic groups of the human community, on the basis of skin color and/or culture. The main leverage associated with this dehumanizing enterprise of racialized ethnic groups was set on the power to construct myths that have always justified racism. In that regard, far from constituting a mere repository of unconscious and harmless prejudices, as it is often made believe, the analysis of the political situation, with the strengthening of fascism and the rise of the far right in Europe, demonstrates that racism remains at the junction of contemporary institutional political practices and the slavocratic, imperial and colonial ideologies.

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29.12.2014 | by Mamadou Ba

"Heart there and body here in Pretugal." In between mestizagem and the affirmation of blackness

"Heart there and body here in Pretugal." In between mestizagem and the affirmation of blackness I set out to understand the modes of sociability of the Red Eyes Gang, a group of youths from Arrentela, Seixal, on the outskirts of Lisbon. The majority of them are children of African immigrants from countries that were formerly Portuguese colonies, and live in socioeconomic conditions well below those of the Portuguese. All were born in Portugal or arrived very young, never knowing their parents' countries of origin. However, they appropriate some of their ethnic and cultural heritages because of the stigmatization and racism to which they are subjected, reworking their condition of being poor and black. They do not mechanically reproduce the way of life and ethnic influences of their families, but reinvent them with imagination, thus producing positive statements about themselves.

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21.10.2010 | by Otávio Raposo