Living in uncertain times, imagining times of certainty

What is the role of the museum?

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Cycle of conversations – How many Museums are there within a single museum?

We live in a moment of considerable uncertainty, yet it is a moment that also offers us an opportunity for deceleration and slowing down. Can this be a driver (accelerator) of transformation, giving us an opportunity to think about a more certain future? What does a certain future mean? And how can these uncertainties and new possibilities, some of them still to be imagined, be conceived and enacted in the context of artistic practices and Museums? How can this uncertain present change the museum, and how can the artistic practices themselves be transformed or become agents of transformation in the museum?

This is perhaps the right time to think about what models the Museum can propose for its relationship with the public and, more particularly, for its relationship with artists and their works. How could this relationship model be changed? What expectations and opportunities do artists have with regard to the Museum? How can we imagine together a museum for more certain times?

In conversation with Rita Fabiana, Ângela Ferreira, Hugo Canoilas and Horácio Frutuoso.


Ângela Ferreira was born in Maputo, Mozambique, in 1958. After completing her studies in Fine Arts in South Africa, she obtained a Master's degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. She currently lives and works in Lisbon, teaching at the Faculty of Fine Arts, where she obtained her PhD in 2016. Ângela Ferreira's work explores the impact of colonialism and post-colonialism on contemporary society. These investigations are guided by in-depth research and a

Horácio Frutuoso (1991) lives and works in Lisbon and Porto and graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto with a degree in visual arts. His artistic practice intersects painting and graphic poetry, making frequent use of different plastic elements. He frequently collaborates in editorial or graphic projects, maintaining a regular collaboration with Teatro Praga since 2006. He has been exhibiting his work regularly in different exhibitions and curatorial projects, like: Clube da Poesia, individual exhibition curated by Ricardo Nicolau, Museu de Serralves, Porto (2019); Ponto de Fuga, Coleção António Cachola, curated by João Laia, Cordoaria Nacional, Lisbon (2019); Biblioteca, BoCa – Biennial of Contemporary Arts, Lisbon (2019); Haus Wittgenstein, curated by Nuno Crespo, MAAT, Lisbon (2018); 1000 IMAGENS; A word is worth a thousand pictures, curated by Alexandre Melo, Cristina Guerra Contemporay Art Gallery, Lisbon (2018); H, individual exhibition at Galeria Balcony, Lisbon (2018); O que Eu sou, collective exhibition of the EDP Foundation’s Collection, MAAT (2017); White Horse, Bregas, Lisbon (2016).

Hugo Canoilas won the Kapsch Art Prize 2020, in Austria, and has exhibited regularly, Frankfurter Kunstverein, De Appel, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, São Paulo Biennal, Kunsthalle Wien, Museu do Chiado. In November of the present year his work will be presented at the mumok in Vienna. He was responsible for the edition of ‘OEI#80-81: The zero alternative: Ernesto de Sousa and some other aesthetic operators in Portuguese art and poetry from the 1960s onwards’, co-edited in collaboration with Cecilia Groenberg, Jonas (M) Magnusson and Tobi Maier. He created and developed the collective project A Gruta in the basement of Galeria Quadrado Azul in Lisbon and directs, along with Nicola Pecoraro and Christoph Meier, the space Guimarães in Vienna.

Rita Fabiana has been Programme Coordinator at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum since March 2016. Since 2006, she has curated exhibitions of contemporary artists such as Leonor Antunes and Gabriela Albergaria, Ricardo Jacinto, Vítor Pomar, André Guedes, the duo A Kills B, Tamás Kaszás, Emily Wardill, Ana Jotta and Ricardo Valentim, Yto Barrada, Irineu Destourelles and Manon de Boer (the latter with Susana Gomes da Silva), among others. She was the curator of a survey drawing exhibition of Jorge Martins and of the first retrospective dedicated to the artists José Escada and Túlia Saldanha (the latter with Liliana Coutinho) and was co-curator of the retrospective dedicated to António Ole (with Isabel Carlos). For 2022, she is preparing a project with Zineb Sedira. Her texts have appeared in catalogues and magazines such as Contemporânea and OEI #80-81. She taught on the Curatorial Studies Seminar at the College of Arts of the University of Coimbra (2014-2017) and participated as an external evaluator at the MFA of Malmö Art Academy (2018). More recently, she participated in the round table discussion 'Collaboration in the Arts in Portugal', part of the conference 'Fields of Collaboration in Contemporary Artistic Practices' (ICNOVA, IHA, IFILNOVA and Culturgest, 2019). In collaboration with African feminist associations Djass, Femafro, Inmune and Padema, she organised the international meeting 'Where I (we) Stand' to discuss the decolonisation of history, bodies and narratives, but also the structure of the museum itself as a place of representation and a producer of knowledge.

International Museum Day

This is one of the activities we have prepared to celebrate International Museum Day, which will have an online-only programming this year. Conferences, a virtual exhibition and a guided tour to the Gulbenkian Museum are some of our suggestions for this day.

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