Maria Lamas and Her Women

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An exhibition showing for the first time in Portugal the photographic work of Maria Lamas (1893–1983), journalist and writer, educator and researcher, translator and photographer, fighter for human and civil rights in times of dictatorship.

Maria Lamas (1893–1983), journalist and writer, educator and ethno-social researcher, translator and photographer, fighter for human and civil rights in times of dictatorship, was perhaps the most remarkable Portuguese woman of the 20th century. While there is a certain memory of her political affirmation and action during the Estado Novo (1930–1960, which led to her imprisonment in 1949, 1951 and 1953) and her exile in Paris (1962–1969), her literary and journalistic work is practically forgotten. Very few of her books – more than twenty works including poetry, fiction, children’s literature, social anthropology, translation – are available on the market.

As for her (limited but remarkable) photographic work, it has never been exhibited in Portugal. Jorge Calado included eight vintage prints by Maria Lamas in the exhibition Au féminin – Women photographing women 1849–2009 at the Centre Culturel Calouste Gulbenkian in Paris in 2009. In 2016, the same curator, who was responsible for representing Iberia at the major 20th century world photography exhibition in Dubai, Dubai Photo Exhibition 2016 – A global perspective in photography, included Maria Lamas among the ten photographers chosen (six Portuguese and four Spanish), showing 9 of her images.

The focus of the current exhibition, also curated by Jorge Calado, will therefore be the photographic work of Maria Lamas. It features a selection of 67 of her photographs, mostly vintage prints of small dimensions (between 8 x 6 cm and 14 x 18 cm), but also some enlarged ones. In addition to these, vintage prints by other photographers included in the work Mulheres do meu país will be exhibited. Some of Maria Lamas’ personal objects will also be on display, as well as her portrait painted by Júlio Pomar in 1954 and a plaster bust sculpted in 1929 by Júlio de Sousa. The section devoted to her literary and journalistic work will include copies of first editions of fundamental books, children’s literature, poetry and fiction, translations, some journalism.

Accompanying this exhibition, the Foundation will publish a bilingual catalogue (Portuguese and English) which, in addition to publishing the photos of Maria Lamas on display, includes texts by Jorge Calado, Alexandre Pomar, Raquel Henriques da Silva and Alice Vieira.


The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reserves the right to collect and keep records of images, sounds and voice for the diffusion and preservation of the memory of its cultural and artistic activity. For further information, please contact us through the Information Request form.


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